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ProAm Tips #18

Not sweating the small stuff.

This is harder than it sounds. As writers, we are also readers. That means we’re primarily consumers of literature. I use the term as a blanket for any and all writing, from comic to Shakespeare. Literature is what we love. So much that we’re compelled to create it ourselves.

So when creating it ourselves it’s easy, far too easy, to get hung up on the minutiae.

Clips? Magazines? Who cares- right NOW. You’re writing a draft. Get on with it.

Response time for police and firefighters? Who cares- right NOW. Get on with it.

What, exactly, IS the floor plan of St. Ced’s College? Are the bathrooms even close enough tot he Forensics department to warrant a foot chase? Does St. Ced’s HAVE a Forensics department? Who cares? Get on with it.

Your job is to write only two words: The End. It’s not to make your first draft pretty. It’s not to make it make sense. Hell, you don’t need to describe your characters their cars, their clothes, their pets, or even get their names right. Fuck, people, don’t even NAME them. Use an esoteric character like ~ as their name for all I care. That’s what search-and-replace is for.

You’re in a race, writers. A race to get to the end of a draft. You’re not gonna get points for consistently remembering that your secondary character’s third cousin on his father’s side is blue-eyed. You’re not gonna get points for spelling polydactyly properly. (Extra digits on the hands or feet.)

You’re never gonna get ANYWHERE unless you finish the fucking thing. Get it done. THEN worry about it. Here’s a helpful bit of writing trivia:

No writer ever published their first draft. Not cold. Bradbury came close with Fahrenheit 451. He wrote it in a week (using a coin-operated public typewriter. Think about that the next time you snuggle down into Starfucks with your vente-mocha-cocoa-latte-crunch-espresso-double-skinny-soy-cruelty-free-go-fuck-yourself and your free WiFi). It’s brilliant.

And then he retyped the fucking thing, after correcting all the typos and mistakes and slips and forgets and bullshit.

No one gets it right. Even Shakespeare fucked up. Joyce fucked up. King fucked up. Hemingway fucked up.

Your first draft has permanent, inherent permission to fuck up.

And so do you.

Just FINISH the damned thing. Worry about the details later.

Get to work.

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