But it’s a piece of . . .

Are any of you familiar with the author Anne Lamott?  I’d link her website for you deprived individuals who haven’t yet experienced her (believe me, her books are nothing less than an experience!) but I really don’t think she has one.  I’ve looked to no avail.  You can check out what wiki says on her, though, here.   I bring her up because her book Bird by Bird, has taught me more about writing than any other.  If you write–or plan on writing someday–you simply have to read it.  It should be a requirement!  I haven’t read any other work by  her, but she’s on my list of “to-read-soon”s! 

One of my writing habits that has changed, courtesy of her, is I now mark all I write with a big “SFD” at the top.  What is this? Let me explain.

SFD stands for: Shitty First Draft.  (But writing ‘shitty first draft’ on my paper just takes way too long, so abbreviation is easier!)  This is a visual reminder to me that my first draft not only can, but should be a complete piece of–well–shit. 

When writing I tend to correct my work as I go, mentally pretending someone is reading it and it has to be perfect.  But that’s just not so!  Your SFD is what nobody sees but you.  It can be as grammatically horrendous, pathetically plotted and elementary-written as possible.  That doesn’t matter one bit!  You just keep writing.  Write ’till the end, until you have finished and then go back and start the tedious process of editing. 

SFD’s bring liberation!  SFD’s allow me to actually finish my work!  I have found that some of my best sentences were pulled out of my SFD file. 

Now, I need to add a plug about the author.  She’s a very controversial lady.  I absolutely love her.  In a world that has stereotyped for too long, she stands out.  Christians hate her, secular world hates her.   Conservatives hate her, liberals can only tolerate her.  She doesn’t fit any mold.  I find that refreshing!



2 Responses

  1. I heard Lamott speak the other night in St. Louis. She mentioned that she’s writing again for Salon.com.

    I checked; she has stuff there. Just search her name once you get on Salon’s home page.

    Looks like she’ll be doing a column for them again. Hope so. Enjoy!

  2. Thanks! I can’t wait to read her columns! Have you read a lot of Lamott??

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