Turning coal into diamonds!

Many writers call their first drafts, for lack of any imagination, crap! I can only assume those writers are paraphrasing Ernest Hemingway, who once said:

“The first draft of anything is shit.”

Allow me to put Hemingway’s quote in perspective. He didn’t ball-up a sheet of paper and throw it into a blazing fire as he screamed what was to become an infamous piece of prose. He eloquently inserted it in an explanation regarding the writing process. Here’s the entire quote:

‘Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. There is, and you can’t get out of it. I rewrote the first part of A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times. You’ve got to work it over. The first draft of anything is shit. When you first start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none, but after you learn to work it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read but something that happened to himself.’

He’s also quoted as saying, ‘There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.’ 

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Remember the scene from Superman III when Superman, aka Christopher Reeves, turns a piece of fossilized carbon into a diamond?

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True, not the best movie in the Superman series, however, that’s not the point. The point is how does one create a lump of coal that CAN be turned into a diamond. I’ve been told by many writing coaches to not worry about my first draft. ‘Let it be shit! Get the idea out. You’ll clean it up later.’ Unfortunately, this is difficult for someone who suffers from OCD, as I do. (Okay, it’s self-diagnosed, but still…) I want my first drafts to be good. No, I want my first drafts to great!

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And, that, my dear blog reader, is the conundrum I face each morning–a dance between my fingers wanting to type coal and my brain wanting to create diamonds.

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It’s often said there is no great writing, only great rewriting. This quote belongs to Justice Louis Brandeis and I love it because it gives me hope that my piece-of-coal first draft will, eventually become a diamond. If I have the perseverance of a superhero.

Just call me Superwoman.

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Blessed be. :}

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Mary Cooney-Glazer July 15, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you for this. Doing a first draft of a first romance story. It fits Hemingway’s definition to a tee, with enough tiny flecks of decent stuff here & there to keep me going. I too am a very late blooming romance fiction writer, also from North Shore of Boston.
    Thrilled to see you’ve achieved success. Nicely done.

    1. riverladywrites@gmail.com July 15, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Hi, I would love to connect with you to share tips and help each other along the way. I’m on Facebook and love coffee. Blessed be, Tinthia Clemant

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