Just tell the story: AKA The first draft

Just a quick thought I had today guys. I heard a quote quite awhile back that Glen Krisch said on Twitter and I'm not sure if it's his own or not, but I liked it and it went something like this: "You know what's harder than writing the first draft? Writing the second draft first."

There's so much truth in that statement I can barely explain it. But I'll try.

As a writer your brain sometimes gets in the way. And this isn't just relegated to the profession of writing, it can happen to anyone doing anything that requires a little bit of instinct. That's right, instinct. The force that guides you back to bed in the dark without rapping your shin against the chair you meant to move earlier in the day. Instinct is a basic sense of direction, content, and character for a writer. I sum up the idea with four words:

Just tell the story.

What I mean by this is when I'm writing my first draft I fly without instrumentation. I try to write by the seat of my pants, without judgement or nail biting. I just try to tell the story. I've gotten trapped before, writing a page so slowly and carefully, making sure I portrayed a scene just right until I realized what I was doing. I was trying to write perfectly the first time through. The first draft is not for perfection. Neither is the second or the third, but definitely not the first.

The first draft is revving the engine and popping the clutch just to listen to your tires burn out. The first draft is jumping off the dock without checking the water temperature first. The first draft is swinging so high on the swing you feel like you're going to fly off. The first draft is freedom.

So I try not to get too wound up about minor errors or if a sentence sounded odd. That's what the second and third and even the fourth drafts are for. That's when you take your nasty looking stone and pop it in the tumbler until it's shining and bright. The first draft is simple.

Just tell the story.