The Inadequacy of the First Draft

Never be satisfied with a first draft. In fact, never be satisfied with your own stuff at all, until you’re certain it’s as good as your finite powers can be. – Jon Winokur


When I started writing, I wrote only once and that was it. The feeling of ecstasy and pure joy at having created something out of nothing was heady. Then I would show it to a friend or my sister, who by the way have little or no critique sense because they have no ‘eye’ for it. Of course they ‘oohhed’ and ‘aahhed’ over it, telling me how ‘good’ I was.

Seriously, in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is King!

What am I saying? Never be satisfied with what you churn out at first. Take a second, third and even fourth look then pass it on to a trained pair of eyes for another look-see. Never underestimate the power of editing; copy, hard or technical.

As a writer just getting comfortable in your own skin, learn to push yourself hard. If you have to submit an article for a contest or you just have a deadline, start early. Don’t just send in what you wrote, the very day you wrote it. Don’t succumb to the temptation of showing the world what a gem of a piece you have created on the spur of the moment. Take your time to look it through.

When I started passing my works to others for an opinion I got a lot of comments, crossed out text, replaced words, re-arranged sentences and I was livid! I was tempted to reject the diagnosis and keep my ailments close to my heart, after all they were mine. But I got wise and it helped a lot.

I imagine that some of us may also be at that point. Forget what your friends have said. Really, you should. Maybe they’ve called you Shakespeare, or Elechi Amadi, or you’ve even fancied yourself as the next Chinua Achebe. Put all that at the back burner and get it straight. After all, you will never make it outside your little closet if you don’t get as good as these guys.

The truth is we’ll never know how amazing we can be unless we do all that we can to get there.

Keep writing!


14 thoughts on “The Inadequacy of the First Draft” by RemiRoy (@RemiRoy)

  1. thanks remi,
    you are so loved.

  2. Thanks sweetie. Right back at ya! :)

  3. Nice stuff. Something anyone wishing to go professional has to strictly practice.

  4. I read, reread and plan to share it with lots of people; that’s how relevant this work is. I strongly feel it should be every writer’s creed. Well said RemiRoy!!!

  5. Preach, preacher!!!! I hear U. Yup yup!!!

  6. True, the place of sharing your works with other writers does help to improve us in ways we can’t imagine. Everyone has the tendency to think that what he/she has written is a masterpiece; hence, a second, third, fourth… opinion is vital. Thanks Remi.

  7. This article has a stamp, and guess what the stamp reads…. GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY. Worse, or maybe for the better actually, it’s stamped on my forehead. Very enlightening, and eye opening actually! I make an oath starting from now to do a second, a third, and a fourth…like @Scopeman said. SO help me GOD!

  8. @Remi,you just described me totally.I swear to heed too.

  9. remi,thanks alot

  10. Very true…never be contended with a first draft,no matter how good you think the work is.
    Now i’m ashamed of some write ups i was so proud of when i was in secondary school.

  11. i think the first draft is never enough it needs a rewrite and that is what i do.

  12. this issue needs to be re-emphasized again, every good story must under go a second writing that way typos and sentence errors are eliminated.

  13. literary preacher
    good teacher
    of literature…….

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