It's confession time: I tend to live with my first draft here in these blogs. I can be a perfectionist yet I am content to live with a first draft. I pound out a blog then want to publish immediately. Yet I find errors, as I'm sure you do, that I should have taken time to fix. I can fix them later, but by then it is out in the world. Of course, I can do this quietly and readers would seldom be aware I did so.
Sometimes I do take the time to edit. Pages on my Mac has text to a speech function. When I use this, and can hear my words out loud, I can catch errors and odd turns of phrases that need fixing. I actually enjoy this process some of the time. Other times I get lazy and hit the "post" button. I rationalize that the first draft is me speaking naturally. But then I realize it is me just being lazy.
First drafts are important. Anne Lamott wrote in her her book on the art of writing, Bird by Bird, that it is important just to get the words down on paper. She calls it the "shitty first draft". Just write with little attention to editing or corrections. It'll be awful, just as the term implies. But it will be something you can work with. I agree, but ... then again, my impatience and haste can overwhelm me.
When writing this blog, I tend to be mostly happy with my first draft. I am overcome by this feeling that if I don't immediately press the post button, the ideas expressed will get stale or spoil entirely. I wonder if that is because everything seems to pass so quickly these days. I also find if I work it too long, my feelings about the piece begin to fade and I lose interest. It might well die on the vine.
I remember when I used to write letters. I always wondered almost immediately when the recipient would respond. Would they respond? And after several days, why haven't they responded? Did they even get the letter? What the heck is going on? I need a response, a validation and I need it right away. I'm am only half kidding here. But it is nice to get some sort of immediate gratification!
So I guess this is why I live with the first draft. Most of life is a first draft after all. I'm gonna run this through the speech to text and do some editing. If you are reading this, know it is at least a second draft. In the end, like most things on the internet, these writings are somewhat ephemeral any way. They may be consumed, but are seldom retained. The thoughts and musings pass through my consciousness, and probably yours, too. But I can't help but think that on some level something sticks. First draft or not, this blog is a conversation we have. Take from it what you will. And your response, as always, is most welcome.
Link here to Lamott's chapter on writing the first draft:
UPDATE: I did use the text to speech feature to edit and as usual, it is better. But I bet there are still things in this post that could be improved!