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Don't Get it Right, Get it Written

By Ruth Barringham

I know that after reading the above heading, "Don't Get it Right, Get it Written", you're probably thinking "Huh?"

Well I don't blame you, because what's the point of doing something if you don't do it right? Surely that means you're going to do it wrong!

Right?

Yes.

But when it comes to your writing, you're not meant to get it right the first time. That's why we call it a first draft. It's not meant to be perfect. In fact, it's not even supposed to be NEARLY perfect. It's only meant to be a first draft which is for your eyes only.

If you didn't write anything until you were sure it was going to be perfect, then you'd never write anything at all.

A writer writing a first draft is like an artist doing preliminary sketches or an actor rehearsing their lines. It's all just practice to get ready for when the real work begins.

As a writer, you'll probably write several drafts of your work before you're satisfied with what you've written and sometimes you may even throw your work away and start again. But eventually you'll get it right.

So the lesson today is:

Don't Get it Right
Get it Written.

Just remember that if you're not happy with your writing you can always go back and edit it. But you can't edit a blank page.

And this advice – Don't Get it Right – can be applied to almost everything you do in life. Because if you always sit around doing nothing and waiting for perfection, you'll be waiting a very long time.

No one is perfect so you can't expect everything you do to be right every time. So –

Don't Get it Right
Get it Going.

Even if you have a massive task ahead of you, just do it one step at a time. Keep going until you get to the end. Don't stop and never give up.

When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb he had already made 9.999 attempts. When someone asked him if he was prepared to fail 10,000 times, he replied that he had never failed. He had simply discovered 9.999 ways not to do it. Had he given up, we would all be sitting in the dark every night.

It's the same principle of success that babies use when learning to walk. At first they fall down a lot but gradually they learn to hold onto the furniture to keep their balance until they can walk unaided.

And don't we make a fuss and congratulate them when they finally get it right and can walk?

Imagine what would happen if we discouraged them whenever they failed and said, "Look kid, you've been trying to walk for weeks now but you keep falling over. Why don't you just give up and admit that you're a crawler?"

We don't expect babies and toddlers to get things right the first time any more than we expect actors to work without rehearsing.

And if you get a new person at work don't you "show them the ropes" and allow them to make a few mistakes in the first few weeks?

Well don't expect perfection from yourself when you begin writing. Hemingway said, "First drafts are sh*t" and that's the way it's meant to be.

So let your first draft be just that – a first draft.

And just like the baby learning to walk or the new guy at work; the more you do something the better at it you'll become.

So Don't Get it Right, Get it Written.

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