How to Write a Perfect First Draft


You really, really, really don’t have to write a perfect first draft in order to be a successful writer.

Perhaps that should be Rule #1 of writing regardless of whether you’re working on a blog post, business article, college essay, business book or something more on the creative side.

You really, really, really don’t have to write a perfect first draft.

Thinking otherwise can derail your entire writing career at worst. At best, it’ll "only" add a whole lot of pointless hours and angst over an end-goal you’re destined to fail at anyway.

Did that hurt? It’s not supposed to. Believe it or not, it’s meant as a flat-out inspiring piece of motivation.

By saying you’re destined to fail at your goal to write a perfect first draft, I’m only saying that you’re human. Which, hopefully, isn’t news to you.

(If it is, sorry about that.)

Humans just are not capable of writing a perfect first draft unless their first drafts consist of a single sentence or two. In which case, can it really even be called a first draft?

When we get our thoughts down on paper for a blog post, business article, college essay, business book or whatever, it’s a process. We’re still sorting our thoughts out no matter how solid of an outline we’re working off.

We can try to think of every single angle possible to make our argument – but our minds aren’t capable of conceiving every single angle possible. So… fail.

We can attempt to be as inclusive as possible – but we’re automatically working off our own thoughts and experiences, education and upbringing and associations, all of which are going to be limited. So… again, fail.

We can try to express ourselves as eloquently as possible – but there’s always going to be a better way of phrasing every other sentence. At least.

Fail. Fail. Fail.

And it’s even more of a failure how we oftentimes can’t see any such thing while we’re in the process of transporting ideas into written language.

Even now, I’m staring at this business article blog post, completely lost about which direction to take it despite thinking I had it all planned out already.

I guess I’m human too. Shocking, I know.

Speaking of such, humans are also just not capable of writing a perfect final draft… for the same exact reasons as listed above:

  • We’re incapable of creating an air-tight case powerful enough to shut up every bit of opposition when logic can be used for good or for evil. Just because a statement or counter-statement is wrong doesn’t mean it’s illogical.

  • We’re incapable of making every reader happy since every reader is an individual with their own phobias, philias and preferences.

  • We’re incapable of expressing ourselves with 100% eloquence from start to finish, at least in a way that every single person on the planet will find our every word riveting.

The point in acknowledging that list of limitations is simply to get you writing past the first line to the second, from the second to the third, and the third to the fourth as quickly as possible.

After you've got it all written down and your first draft officially completed, that's when you go back and start being nit-picky with second drafts, third drafts or more depending on how long the piece is and its exact level of importance.

But fixating on perfection is a pointless headache at any stage of the writing process. You’re never going to be able to write a perfect first draft. Never.

So why not turn your focus to writing a first draft period?

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