Updated: Apr 16
I played basketball in the 90s as a teenager. Michael Jordan had made the sport an international phenomenon and I wanted in. Unsurprisingly, this gangly, Irish 15-year-old girl was not naturally talented on the court. I was always player six, always on the bench at the first toss up, always a back-up, never a star. That wasn't the point for me, the point was to play, to have fun, to take part, and to work hard on getting better (thanks, MJ!).
Perfection can get the best of us at times, especially when we begin to write the first draft of a book that's been in us since birth. It's important to remind yourself that you were not born speaking a language; you had to learn one, through practice. You were not born a writer, you were born with a story inside you. Learning to write, as with learning to play basketball, requires practice. So, let's put aside that worry for now and, just between you and me, allow yourself to be totally crap. I won't tell anyone, promise!
I call the first draft of a book 'the purge', because that's what it is. And if you frame it like that, you will never think it should be perfect. A purge is a detoxing, a releasing of all that needs to get out of your body. Give yourself total free range to purge your work onto the page. Excuse the graphic nature, but think of it as thought vomit. Up it comes in all its gross glory. No censoring, no holding back. Just release.
Luxuriate in this one chance to not give a flying F**K if it's good or bad.
You will not regret it.
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