Perfect is not the goal.
You can learn how to write a perfect first draft by taking college level courses, by hiring a coach, by lots and lots of practice and, my personal favorite by going to a pub.
Last week, my husband and I were on the road in Portland, Maine and happened to choose Andy’s Old Port Pub for dinner. The food was good but the music was better.
The Unsinkable Ronda Dale and her pick up crew of excellent musicians served up a platter of blues, country, R & B and a whole bunch of other songs you probably recognize but don’t remember the words to. Some of the attendees were friends but Ronda drew strangers in too.
As customers settled into their seats, Ronda included each one in her performance. Some picked up a microphone to join her in a song. Those who were too shy to sing, were handed rhythm instruments. Ronda didn’t ask if you had music experience before handing out shakers or if you had performance skills before sharing a microphone. Because perfect was not the point. Fun was.
And this is also the thing to remember about beginning a manuscript.
If it’s perfect, you are doing it wrong.
Writers have issues with first drafts. Okay, I have issues with first drafts. But I’m guessing you do too. It’s safer to get sidetracked into fixing errors than to risk a leap forward.
This is an excellent way to remain at not quite perfect chapter three for the rest of your life. Fun? Not.
And this is wrong, because writing, like musical improvisation is a chance to play and chances to play don’t come along often when one is a responsible adult with boring obligations like taking out the trash every Wednesday night and bringing the cans back in every Thursday..
So, if you visit Portland on the second Tuesday of the month, stop at Andy’s Pub for the most fun you’ve had in a while. If Ronda invites you to sing, say yes. Even if you can’t sing and you don’t remember the words.
And if you want to finish that first draft, take a piece of paper, nail it to your wall and inscribe it with the following in big red letters: It’s a frickin’ first draft. It shouldn’t be perfect.
Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.