Is It OK for a First Draft to Be Crappy?

It’s OK if your first draft sucks. But in this video, I stress the importance of striving for the best you can do in the moment every time you sit down to write.

Why half-arse your sessions?!

The idea here is that, if you go into a writing session determined not to half-arse it, that’s a very different mental space than if you go in thinking anything goes. You might not produce gems every time you sit down, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to. But you can at least go in telling yourself that you’re not going to settle and that you’re going to push the limits of what you can do.

first draft don't half-arse a job

I guess my philosophy (on writing or anything else) is that, if you’re not going to approach something with full effort, it’s not much worth doing. Can you fail? Absolutely. Self-forgiveness and learning are wonderful things. But if you have the capacity to try, why wouldn’t you? Why not see what you get? Why not see if you can reset the bar a little higher on the first draft, right out of the gate? If you don’t move, well, OK. But what if you do?

So, just give what you’ve got, no matter what that might be. Some days, that might only be, say, a 2. Some days, you’ll be at a 10. Perfection (100 percent 100 percent of the time) is neither achievable nor sustainable. And importantly, I don’t want you to compare yourself to anybody else. You’ll be tempted to do that, because it’s our natural human tendency to look to others as a measure of whether we’re OK or not. But you define what half-arsing is based on your own record and capabilities, because we all work differently and are at different points in our writing development. As long as you are reaching, that’s all that counts.