Monday, February 8, 2010

This Leap of Faith?

This is sort of a parallel post to this post on the Writer's Chronicle blog.

Recently I've been reading the Social Animal edited by Elliot Aronson. In the first chapter, Aronson emphasises that social psychology research involves a 'leap of faith'. Using the metaphor of Monsieur Grand, he highlights the point that by continuous seeking perfection in our work, we will never progress.

Well, Call me Monsieur Grand!

There is always such a huge emphasis on the hook and the importance of an excellent first line, it often makes me forget that there has to be a second and third line too. I think that the thought of having to create something 'perfect' makes the task of actually writing so difficult.

Why? Because if you seek perfection constantly, you will always be going backwards. It has taken me so long (that its sad) to realise that - yes you're allowed to write utter crap in your first/second/third draft!! It is only the end draft which really counts!

Perhaps it's a lack of confidence, which causes this overwhelming feeling when i click on word or maybe it's the little self-editor that constantly berates and makes me delete my sentences.

But, if the field of psychology/science can allow themselves to make mistakes so those following can improve on their findings, then shouldn't I as a writer allow my first draft to be flawed - so my later writings can improve and consequently progress!

Perfection is a myth, once you stop looking for it - writing becomes alot easier.


roxy said...

Thanks for this post. It's food for thought. I think I'm a little Monsieur Grand as well.

Andrea said...

Sometimes the best part of drafts is being able to write complete and utter rubbish!

At least that's the fun part for me in the beginning. Then once it's out of my system I get a bit more serious! Otherwise if it doesn't make me laugh or smile or I find it way too much work it's just not worth it.

annerallen said...

We have to allow ourselves to write what Anne LaMotte called the "shitty first draft". Otherwise, we sit there with a left-brain editor-hat on and stifle our own creativity. And I've discovered I can never write a good first line until I've written the last one. Soldier forward!

Diana Paz said...

I agree with Andrea and Anne. Being able to write trash I KNOW I'll never show to anyone is huge fun, and the best part of writing a first draft. And sometimes there's a little surprising glimmer of gold in all the garbage :)

Sorry I've been sorta absent lately. Life isn't slowing down, but I wanted to say hi :)

Emily Cross said...

Roxy - aw you're not alone! you should drop by the DW blog - plenty of Monsieur grands there too :)

Andrea- thanks for the comment and advice. This is what i've had to learn lately!

Anne - I like the 'shitty first draft' - i think I'll call all my wip funny/curse filled names and it might dispell my perceptions of trying (and failing) to be perfect.

Diana - thanks for dropping by (really appreciate it). I like your gold/garbage analogy!

Thanks everyone for your great comments, oh also feel free to read the parallel post (which is more objective) which is linked in the post.

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