I wish I’d learned earlier in life that my first draft or attempt at anything is probably going to bad. It almost certainly has to be. I tend to get mentally overwhelmed a lot. If I have something to do I feel a kind of blockage in my mind to get it perfect. My mind gets so blocked that I find it hard to get started.
I follow a lot of writers on Twitter. Recently I’ve noticed them pointing out that your first draft is going to be bad so you might as well get it out of the way fast. Write it bad and get it over with. Lots of bloggers have also commented that there’s no point obsessing over your first few blog posts because they’re going to be bad. If they’re going to be bad any way then you might as well just write them and move on from them as fast as you can.
I tend to stress so much over getting things right that I can’t get started. Whether writing an email, an article a blog post a novel, or even any piece of work I’m doing. If I decide from the start that it will be crap, then I might as well jump into it. That’s really liberating.
Deciding that lets me start. It lets me get it out of my system and also lets me have a framework in front of me. When the crap is down I can rearrange it and edit it and mould it. Until then though I’ve got nothing except what’s in my head. It’d very difficult to be creative and also to mould your idea while everything is still in your head.
I now try to apply this approach to everything if it fits.
In the past, if I had a blog post to write I’d spend ages thinking about it. I would probably plan it out and usually end up with nothing. It would take so long that the initial idea that excited me would have faded away. The clarity of it and my passion for it would be gone.
I want to write long-form novels but I had the same problem. I would spend so long planning and thinking and never starting. Now I just write 500 words every day. I don’t worry if they’re bad I’ll fix them after. At least though I’ll have something to fix after
If I have an important email to write, I just blurt it out. When it’s out I can fix it and then move on. Before that, I needed time to get it right so I kept putting it off. I did need time to get it right, but I could only use that time after I had the draft.
In any scenario now I try to take that approach, especially if I’m creating something new (no matter how small). Get the draft down fast. Get it out of my head quick while the idea is clear and I have a passion for it. Then fix it.
When it comes to working I always get stuck at the start of a job or project. The work is important and I can’t mess it up. It has stakes. So I end up doing nothing until the pressure builds so much that I have to. By allowing it to be bad and realising I can fix it after I can start faster. I can also have a lot more fun in my work and it’s much less stressful.