Get It Out! The Importance of the “Crappy First Draft”

Posted May 26, 2013 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

At some point in your career, you’ve probably said these words: “I’m a perfectionist.” That’s because, my dear, you’re a woman, and most women….are perfectionists. We agonize about our shoes, our hair, our kids, our jobs, our cars, and more. And whether you’re clean or messy, organized or disorganized, dressy or casual, there’s some form of perfectionism rearing its ugly head in your life no matter how uptight or laid back you might be.

One area many of us get stunted by perfectionism is in writing. Many, many times I’ve heard a woman say something like, “I want to start a blog, I just don’t know what to say,” or “When I have a presentation to do at work, I procrastinate until the last minute because I want it to be just perfect” or “I’m going to end up pulling an all nighter on that one.” Something happens when we put our fingers to a keyboard and have to start typing. Fear. Fear of what? Of being imperfect. Whatever writing assignment you’re working on, whether it’s a personal blog, a huge presentation at work, a Master’s thesis, or a Dear John letter, something happens when we have to make our thoughts into words on a page.

In stalling, though, and getting ourselves into that last minute, all-nighter mentality, we forget the importance of one very very key step in the writing process: the crappy first draft!

Nothing is ever perfect the first time around. You have to write, and rewrite, and scrutinize in order for something to be truly great. So why are you sitting at your keyboard waiting for genius to pour out of your fingers? Instead, just start! The crappy first draft will emerge, and you’ll have something to work from. Gold isn’t gold when it’s first mined either, it has to be polished and rubbed and worked with. Your work is the same. So get it out! The crappy first draft will actually aid in your goal of perfect, even if you’ll never achieve it!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."