A worker mixing the pulp at the Florida Pulp a...

Image by State Library and Archives of Florida via Flickr

Write it down, get it out, get it all on paper. Cough, spew, gush. Cross out, ramble and blather.

First drafts are all about finding out what you really think and know, where you need to learn more, and what it all means. First drafts are nothing like blueprints. First drafts are the gathering of the available raw materials so you can consider what kind of a structure to build. Why plan for a log cabin in the desert? If you want a log cabin after gathering materials devoid of wood, you have two options: find new materials (research) or move locations (choose another project).

For instance, most people have to tell a story chronologically the first time. After that, you have the opportunity – though too few people take it – to make it about something other than  yourself. In most chronological tellings, the story is about the author. If your intent is to make a larger point or reveal something important about yourself, you must look at the chronological telling and find themes around which to organize your report. Then you have a story instead of a monologue.

One & the same set of facts can have myriad applications. Getting it all out on paper is your first step, and allows you to sort out the various moving parts so you can choose to relate them to a central point.When the bag of legos has been upended on the table, you can allow your vision to be emerge organically.

Hidden emotion may be underneath, or all over, your first telling. Emotion can begin as creepy undertone, but is really just one more moving part, one you may choose to highlight or remove in service of your theme. Being overt in your intent clarifies hidden emotion.

Whether you begin with a clear vision or a murky need, use your first draft to identify the moving parts. As the natural connections emerge, allow the structure to emerge organically. Your log cabin may end up an adobe with a courtyard – all the sturdier and easier to live in for the change.


2 thoughts on “Re-vision

  1. My motto has always been “Get it written and then get it right”. It’s so much easier to revise something, anything, that is not a blank piece of paper (screen for some these days).

    My first draft is still longhand. There’s something satisfying about the sound of Sharpie scrapping across paper that leaves me with a sense of accomplishment. As one of my former professors used to advise “Vomit on the paper — get it out, without order or voice or continutity. Get it written.”

    After that, it’s the process of editing, and editing and editing again. Sit it down, walk away, drink coffee, talk to a friend and then pick it up again. Scratch, delete, move paragraphs, delete some more, flesh out, refine, reference… now is the process of getting it right. Right tone, right audience, right pitch, right nuance.

    Thanks for the reminders Christine. They are being put to good use.



  2. Hey Christine! So glad to find your website and take you up on your offer! I enjoyed speaking with you today and you have been a tremendous help. The advise you have given so far has already begin to strenghten my paper. I’m so thankful you are taking the time to share your talents with those of us that don’t have the knack for writing. I look forward to working with you and watching my paper become something that will capture the attention of my readers. Thank you so much for your help and encouragement! Hope you have a wonderful week.


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