First Draft Blessing

**Note – I’ve got a GoFundMe drive going to make some updates and improvements to my music studio and live sound rig. If you’d like to know more, click this link. And thank you for checking it out! Now, let’s get on with the fluffy goodness!**

Creative folks know something that the rest of us don’t – the blessing of the first draft.

(Ok – “blessing” might be a bit of a stretch. Maybe words like “agony,” “struggle,” or “circus of doubt, gloom, despair, and general angst” might be more appropriate.)

But in my slogging, limping, stuttering, inconsistent creative life, I’m just starting to see the blessing of the first draft. And it only took me 58 years to get there.

Woo. Yay me.

In writing, remembering that the first draft is ugly, imperfect, incomplete, and should never see the light of day, is key to keeping one’s sanity.

Not that any creative human person is sane. And since I believe that everyone is creative, well, y’all all cray cray up in here. *raises hand in three finger movie franchise solidarity salute*

The rule of the first draft is just get the dumb thing out there. Get it out of your head and into some sort of place that doesn’t vanish the second you look at a squirrel. Or a puppy. Or anything on the interwebthingie anyplace. Get whatever it is out of the seething chaos of your head and into some sort of tangible mess that you can play with. Get it out there.

Which is why the first draft really isn’t meant to be seen by anybody else. Nor all the angst, eye rolling, hair pulling, moaning, or other self-inflicted behaviors engaged in when you compare this *thing* you’ve brought into being with what you thought it looked like in your head.

Ew. To da max, man.

So, slowly, I’m coming to believe in the first draft – even though the process leaves me cringing and sobbing. Getting something – anything – out of my head and into the world really does help.

(After all, there’s only so much room in my ol’ upper room. More like a upper closet, actually. And not one of those walk-in, deluxe dealios – I’m talking barely enough room for nothing. That’s me, baby.)

And I’m learning that there are many, many things in life that are “first drafts.” Indeed, life itself is a big ol’ first draft. The good thing is that first drafts give us opportunities to edit, to refine, and to slowly make what exists in this world come closer to what it looks like in our minds.

The bad thing is that most of the time, this first draft of life is lived out in front of a live audience. #wellthatwasawkward

No opportunities to do all our hand wringing and eye rolling in private. No chance to wander around the house, questioning our vocation, our calling, or our very existence, without someone wanting to get some concerned professionals involved. Our first draft gets lived out right in front of everybody.

So, maybe, we ought to cut others a whole lot of slack. After all, it’s just a first draft. It’s beautiful in places, it’s more than we could have ever dreamed in places…

And it’s bug ugly in places. Many places. Many, many, many places. It’s a first draft, folks. Beautiful, ugly, unfinished, raw, and real. Give grace to others, and grab some for yourself as well. Believe me – it will get better. Time and work – that’s all it takes to turn a first draft into something else…

A masterpiece.

** And yes, there was indeed a first draft of this little piece of fluffy goodness. And yes, some editing and general crapola removal did occur. And yes, the stuff that’s left is better than what I started with. And yes, that is pretty sad when you think about it. **

One comment

  1. Harry R Emmert Sr says:

    Hello Cal Olson
    I lost track of you for too long of a time.
    I am glad that I have found this site.
    I have missed you and your music and message.
    I hope you and your “family” are well and healthy.
    Please send me a contact, your schedule of appearances, etc.
    Thank you and God Bless !
    Harry R. Emmert Sr.
    & Family

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