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  • Writer's pictureBeth Allen Estrada

The Joy of Imperfection: Why Your First Draft Should Embrace the Messiness

Updated: May 29, 2023

As writers, we often hold ourselves to impossibly high standards. We want our writing to be perfect from the very first word, to emerge fully-formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. But the truth is, writing is messy. It's a process of trial and error, of exploration and discovery. And that's okay. In fact, it's more than okay—it's essential.


So, how can you set aside the fear or compulsion to be perfect in pursuit of creative expression? Here are three tips:

  1. Embrace imperfection: Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Recognize that the first draft is just a starting point, a canvas waiting to be painted. Don't worry about getting it right the first time. Instead, focus on getting it down.

  2. Banish your inner critic: We all have that little voice in our head that tells us we're not good enough, that our writing is terrible, that we'll never succeed. But here's the thing: that voice is a liar. Don't listen to it. Instead, focus on the joy and excitement of the creative process.

  3. Set realistic goals: Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't try to write a masterpiece in a day. Instead, set realistic goals for yourself. Start with a journal. Or a blog. Commit to writing for a set amount of time each day, or to hitting a specific word count. And don't beat yourself up if you don't always hit your targets. Take time to develop your voice and style.

Remember, the joy of writing is in the imperfection. It's in the messy, unpredictable process of creation. So embrace the messiness. Embrace the imperfection. And most importantly, enjoy the evolution of your idea into a fully formed work.


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