Yeah. Stupid. I know.
I realised what I was doing this week, when every scene I wrote came out so clunky it was as if they'd been written by someone for whom English was their third language, at best, and with as much freshness and life as a ten day dead corpse.
Because for me, trying to aim for absolute perfection in first draft writing means I concentrate, consciously and ridiculously hard, on craft - have I used this dialogue tag before? Is the pacing in that second paragraph off? Have I really shown that character's turmoil, or have I been lazy and resorted to telling? - and I forget to concentrate on the thing most important to first drafts of any persuasion – JUST TELL THE STORY.
I need to feel what my characters are feeling, immerse myself in their lives and their troubles and let the new words I write grow from there. Sure, craft does play a part in this early stage of creation, but I need to remember to have faith that what I can do will be good enough, for a first draft. And to remember that deliberate, purposeful, heavy duty crafting is for later, when there’s a half decent idea on the page to massage into shape.
So. I need to slow down. I need to remember that first and foremost, writers are story tellers. And need to tattoo on the back of my hands, where I’ll see them as I write, the words of Ernest Hemmingway :-
"The first draft of anything is shit."