Hemingway famously said: The first draft of anything is shit.
This speaks to me, because most times the first drafts of my short stories are indeed shitty. The first draft of my novel was even more so.
But when it comes to flash fiction, some of my best work happens in the first draft. I keep tweaking and moving words even as I write, and one sentence moves me to the next one, and the next. I rarely do rewrites of flash pieces– most take a few tweaks and off they go for submission.
This leads me to believe that there are two ways of writing: 1) puking it all out on to the page, then revising and 2) spitting and polishing each sentence as you write. I suppose I do a bit of both– depending on the length of story I’m writing.
I guess I need a lot of writing practice before I can carry the voice for longer than a flash piece. For now, I would have to settle for being a shitty first drafter– because that’s what seems to work for longer pieces.
Here’s an excerpt from an article I came across recently (which is worth a read, in case you’re interested in the writing process):
In fact, I cannot even allow myself to write a shitty first sentence,
let alone immediately follow the first with another few hundred shitty
sentences. This does not mean that what flows from my brain through my
fingertips through the keyboard and onto the monitor’s screen is exactly
what I want it to be. In fact, I am a ruthless reviser, an eager
So dear writers, are you a shitty-first drafter, or eager re-writer?