Shitty First Drafts
Just in time for NaNoWriMo but already under contract!
This post is part of a series as I document my journey writing a book!
I've tried to live the ethos of shitty first drafts in my writing for a while now. I distinctly recall not doing this when creative writing in college and younger. I agonized over a single word at a time. I realized today while researching that shitty first drafts hold up for software development too. It's good little-a agile stuff. Two idioms resonated with me:
- "Make it work, make it right, make it right, make it fast." — Kent Beck
- "Good. Cheap. Fast." (not attributed here, but the first place I heard it. Looks like this is from Jim Jarmusch?)
@nannerb even made a darling website for just this concept: fastgood.cheap
I hope to instill these traits in my work and my team. We can always revisit a concept, an approach, a feature. But if we squirrel ourselves away and try to build all three pillars at once, we rob the team of a chance to course correct before it's too late.
Applying this to writing is where it's most novel to me. Get the words on paper. My editors pretty plainly said this. Don't revise. Output. Make it work. We can look smart later after we pick up the pieces, strike out whole ideas, glue strands of thought together, etc. Make it right. Get granular in the end, when (and if!) it matters. Make it fast. I see lots of folks suggest that making it fast is often not necessary if you take care of the first parts. Most of our software doesn't work at that scale. We'll see about that with this book.
@Julian called this the creativity faucet. In my best moments, I can turn it on. And boy will I have to to hit this deadline. My open tabs and outline are starting to look like a Pepe Silvia meme, and I don't know if I am him or Charlie or the onlooker.
It's all connected!
Write that first draft. Coast down the driveway. Draw that leopard grabbing a bird out of the sky. Solder your first circuit. I see you all doing this in tiny ways each day. And then, one day, you've arrived!