Where You Draft Matters

I never thought it mattered where I did the drafting for my writing, until my Labrador mind got the best of me.

I would use a drafting program one day and a different program the next.

I would draft in WordPress, then I’d jump to Googledocs, then I’d jump to Draft, then hop over to Trello, I’d even pen out rough sketches in Evernote.

The result was a sloppy amalgamation of nonsense and mess across five or so different platforms.draft_matters

The lack of focus and organization bred a personal culture of messiness and distraction. These small details worked to demotivate my creative process. My focus would be divided away from a simple process and The White Tennis Shoe Syndrome would come into play. Nothing would get done until everything was sorted and cleaned. These distraction kept me from doing the work that really mattered.

I’ll walk you through my new process and explain why I do it this way.

So instead of making notes across platforms to feed my whimsy and my sense of free-spirit, I had to constrain my creativity to produce the best results.

Where I Do My Drafting

When I write, I do so in Draft.

It is a place for me to get my ideas out via a brain-dump or a burst session. The Draft platform can be accessed wherever I have an internet connection. I never have to worry about backing up, since it’s save to the built in cloud.

I prefer a bare-bones program. Even someone as prolific as the Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin uses DOS-based WordStar 4.0 to pen his tomes. Use whatever works for you!

Once I do my preliminary brain-dump, I work into my second draft. Some writers hold sacred their first draft and will copy the text into a second draft, preserving the first. I spit in the face of my first draft and bastardize, cut, copy, polish, and generally rejigger.

Here’s the deal. Your first draft will likely be an incomprehensible pile of dog rubbish, and that’s a-okay. You got it on the proverbial paper and that sometimes is the hardest part of the process.

When creating, in my case writing, it’s ok to be sloppy and create a mess. Hell, it’s a lot of fun. Don’t judge your work too harshly. Pressfield might have put it the most eloquently in his book Do The Work, “The most highly cultured mother gives birth sweating and dislocated and cursing like a sailor.”

So fear not your output during this phase. Your first draft will most likely be covered in sweat, blood, and birthing-goo.

Draft is my sandbox. I can create the filthy sandcastles, knock them down, and build them back up again. You forgot the moat, bro!

There is a certain amount pride that you feel polishing that turd of a first draft into a cohesive well thought-out piece.

Once I have done the dirty deed in Draft, I can now move it into it’s published platform.

If I’m submitting it to another website, I use Googledocs. If I’m publishing it to one of my platforms, I open the respective WordPress platform and cut and paste.

Now, the final platform is for good work. It’s sacred. This is where I can put on my perfectionist hat and massage and caress, smoothing the rough edges. It takes a different mindset to edit than it does to create. You can’t expect to make progress on one phase while doing the other.

Just like in building construction, you can’t build the walls using rough sawn 2-by-4 studs and do the finish carpentry at the same time. Each process requires it’s own space and mindset.

Once, you’ve applied the spit-polish and done the proper fact checking and supported research. You can now hit publish on what is your less than perfect work. The sad but equally liberating reality is that your work will never be perfect. Sometimes it’s the flaws that give your work it’s character. An imperfect published piece beats a perfect published piece every time.

Author: Jeff

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