Last night the engaging speaker made me think about my own writing habits in so many ways. First, I realized I probably shouldn’t be a professional writer unfortunately. I typically fall short of page requirements, and sometimes it feels like I am pulling teeth just trying to get more information onto the page. I like writing, but mostly I like when I am done writing and have a finished product. And never do I come home from parties and write ten pages of a story. However, I can see a few glimpses of what John U Bacon said about why he knows he should be a writer, like thinking of lots of article or story ideas or making observations differently than other people.
What hit me the most about the talk was the emphasis put on writing multiple drafts. An instant feeling of guilt fell on me when he talked about students that turn in first drafts as final papers. So many times my arrogant self has concluded that since I work hard on my first draft, I really don’t need a second draft. I hate looking over my own work; it makes me cringe in a way. Now that I have developed as a writer more, and especially after being in this class, I have realized the importance of a first draft a little more.I think my greatest fear in this was explained by Bacon when he talked about the part of his book about Penn State that he wanted to hold on to. I hate eliminating or recreating parts of writing that I have worked on so hard, even if they might not be what is best for the paper. Until last night I had never really heard anyone else talk about this part of writing before, so it was comforting and useful to know that other writers feel this desire but also that you need to be willing to let go. Even though I am not as cocky about my first writings, last night was a huge motivation to improve in this area even more. The guilt I felt was enough to inspire me to actually work hard on a second or even third draft of a paper. I am truly motivated to actually face my own writing, and be willing to change it completely.
With these things in mind, I have many goals for myself. In the next couple of weeks, I have a paper for every class due. I want to do a first draft for all of them and then try to completely rip it apart for my second draft! My plan is make an entire new document for the new draft so I am not tempted to overlook certain parts of my essay that I am “okay with.”
So my first step for this weekend…. start a terrible first draft!