“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” – Anne Lamott: Bird by Bird
I first came across the concept of the Shitty First Draft on Copyblogger years ago. But it is something that I have battled with. Ed Dale helped me get over it, when he introduced me to the concept of free writing. I am not exaggerating when I say that this thirteen and a half minute video has changed my life and I seriously recommend that you watch it.
The essence of a shitty first draft is that it is okay to suck. It is okay not to be perfect. And
that is what gives permission to start. Without starting it will never become worth while. Some people argue against the Shitty First Draft, likening it to a builder rocking up on site and just willy-nilly throwing a house together, but for me it is more akin to sketching the ideas for the architect on the back of a napkin.
Before yesterday I had never created an online portfolio…not because I am not confident in my work but because I have been afraid. Yesterday when I began I was literally frozen in fear, until I typed the words:
This is a shitty first draft of a portfolio…it doesn’t matter if it sucks because no one is going to see it in this form anyway and so I am just going to start.
Having those words sit at the top of the page allowed me to acknowledge my fear but move any way. Fear is a very human emotion and I think it is something that we learn…to avoid mistakes, and from there it is easy to convince ourselves to stay small to avoid risks to not show up.
The power of a shitty first draft is that it allows me to show up. It may not be perfect but it is something and something that can be improved upon.
Love and shitty first drafts,