Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writing Lesson #37

Do not let people see your work before you've finished the first draft.

Or, as Stephen King says in his book On Writing, write the first draft with the door closed and the second draft with the door open.

I know this, KNOW it, and yet still I succumb to show-it-to-someone-itis. It's like my inner four year old has just drawn a picture with a brand new box of crayons and can't wait to show it to someone. More often than not, if incorporate their feedback, I end up taking it out because they haven't read the entire thing so don't know how it all ultimately fits together.

Not to mention it can wildly sidetrack one's creative vision. For example, I've lost a year with this mss because I let myself get tangled up in too early feedback.

Some day, I will learn. Or more importantly, remember. But I share this with you, grasshopper, to spare you similar headaches.

5 comments:

Val said...

A terrific reminder for us old grasshoppers as well. I want to stop people on the street, I'm so excited about "sharing" something new. I like that Stephen King quote and will try to remember it. I've put an interesting quote in my blog today. Would love to hear what you think.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Mary told me exactly the same thing when I first talked to her and it has stuck with me. But it's hard to do sometimes...

Corey Schwartz said...

Very interesting. I write PBs so of course I don't share them till they are done, but I am pretty sure the rest of my critique group subs chapters from first drafts. Hmmm...

Dave said...

Glad I'm not the only one who does this!

Robin L said...

Hey Val! I'll get over to your blog and check it out.

Sherrie, it is hard to do sometimes, and it feels like once you're writing as a job, it becomes harder and harder because more and more people feel like they need to have a say in the process.

Corey, my writer's group has stopped sharing chapters from our first drafts for precisely this reason. Instead, we wait until we're done with the project and solicit feedback on the entire work.

Dave, there's a quote I love that goes something to the effect of, if you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning. I figure if nothing else, I can do that!