Write First, Be Anxious Later

The goal for perfection is both a blessing and a curse for any ambitious writer. Ernest Hemingway revised the ending of Farewell to Arms 39 times before he was satisfied. Asked for the reason on why it took him that long to finish it, he answered, “getting the words right.”

Any writer who wishes to satisfy the littlest whims of her fancy to come up with an amazing piece will take the time to produce an article, blog post, profile or newsletter. Just like Hemingway, to get the words right requires tremendous effort and a huge amount of rewriting and revision, a habit that every writer loves to hate. As many writers would say, “great writing involves a lot of rewriting.”

The idea that a writer has to rewrite what she will be writing must be an encouraging thought. It should never be a debacle to begin the act of writing in itself. It is acceptable to be idealistic about what your piece must convey, but the goal to get there could involve producing a non-ideal piece that needs to be refined. Without the actual written piece or first draft, there will be no basis for that perfect essay or novel that you’ve been wanting to get published.

The best way write that perfect piece is to write the imperfect draft. Reading William Zinnsser’s On Writing Well a million times or memorizing every rule in the AP Stylebook is no guarantee that you will be able to come up with your draft. It’s the act of taking out a notepad (or computer) and doing your cluster map, lists, outline or beat sheet and then do the research to finally come up with that first draft that will lead you to have a written piece.

The reason great writers are published is because they began the writing process. There will be tons of opportunities to rewrite and revise later, but before you can do that you must write first. Start that blog. Finish that essay. Pen that poem. If you want to write and become a writer, then begin writing!


5 thoughts on “Write First, Be Anxious Later

  1. Wow, great first piece for the blog! After reading and being familiar with your writing for quite some time, this feels like a turning point. For me, this is solid writing because you’re not trying to write with any bombastic flare or, in many ways, ‘prove’ that you’re a writer; you’re just writing! You’re keeping it simple and contemporary but it has a personal voice to it and a point of view. The historic references you make to Hemmingway and the other authors/titles anchor the the topic and keep it interesting — adding some interesting dimension to something that otherwise would be entirely personal. Great work; I wouldn’t change a thing, EXCEPT…

    Just kidding.

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