"Shitty First Drafts"
In the essay, â€śShitty First Draftsâ€? Lamott covered a lot of the repetitive paranoia and suffering he went through for each of his essays or reviews. I found it humorous that he emphasized his distaste for a certain writer who was able to write elegantly on her first drafts. Lamott states for his writing community, â€śwe do not think she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her,â€? and that â€śMuriel Spark is said to have felt that she was taking dictation from God every morningâ€¦One might hope for bad things to rain down on a person like this.â€? This only emphasizes Lamottâ€™s personal struggle of starting out with â€śshitty first drafts,â€? along with his resentfulness for the few who have never met this problem (Lamott). Overall, however, he tries to convey that most writers arenâ€™t gifted with first drafts like this woman, and that it is beneficial that first drafts donâ€™t start out publishable. Lamott talks about how you may find something in your first draft that just comes out as you are writing it like â€śthe very last line of the very last paragraph on page six,â€? but that this line would not have come about without the â€śfirst five and a half pagesâ€? (Lamott.) This kind of reminds me of the brainstorming techniques, as if Lamott personally uses the first draft as a half free write and a half draft. I could see this as a beneficial idea, because then there might be less pressure to make it perfect and organized exactly, like a more structured brainstorm. Lamott also tries to emphasize that even the professionals struggle, and that he would still become overwhelmed when he had to start a draft. This was comforting, although I wouldnâ€™t doubt it. Iâ€™ve heard of some writers that revise pages over and over, one in particular was mentioned in Stephen Kingâ€™s book, On Writing. The writer that King discussed would personally revise every page in his book 7 or 8 times (I think), and by the time he was done with it, the book would be ready to hit the shelves. Another thing that Lamott brings up a few times is his fear that someone will find his first draft and read it. Lamott states how he can let a character say something embarrassing or strange, and that it comforts him. I think that this is a beneficial idea, many times I feel afraid of what to write, but if I knew nobody would see it, I could just write, even if it didnâ€™t belong because I know that I could remove it later and not have someone comment on it.
Lamott, Anne. â€śShitty First Drafts.â€? Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Andover Books, 1994.