Zero Draft of The zero draft article

What follows is the actual zero draft of the article I wrote on writing a zero draft:

I can’t believe that i haven’t written a full article about this. I know that it’s something that I talk about a lot, but it’s just something that hasn’t been a focus of an article. So what better to breathe life back into this blog than by talking about the foundational step to writing. I guess that everyone has that “aha” moment, when they realise that what they wanted to achieve isn’t actually impossible. It’s not like it’s something that you have to work hard to fail i
it’s not like it was something that you can’t do after all. For me, after years of thinking that to be a writer I would have had to have “studied writing at uni,” I realised that it was actually something you could just start doing, so long as you had the time and the effort to educate yourself. But that wasn’t the aha moment. I guess that I kind of always knew that there was something there that I was going to do. but for me it was once I understood the concept of the zero draft. since learning it, I have started to apply it to everything I possibly can, at least when it comes to creative things. I guess the concept is similar to sketching. The person who is sketching kind of knows that not every stroke has to be precise, and that the final product is going to be a heavily editing version of what they’re working on right not. It’s going to look completely different, and thats fine, but they don’t try and make the finished thing
they don’t try and make the first thing they draw the finished article. So plenty of people have tried to write. We all sit down at the blank page and try to write. But we just can’t think of what to say. We think that what comes out has to be perfect and amazing. We’ve all seen scenes in a movie where a writer sits in the park and comes up wiht something amazing. And yeah sure, I guess some people are like that. but most people aren’t. most writers have a collection of drafts that no-one will ever see. And that’s fine. Because that’s all part of the process. We fool ourselves into thinking that that first draft matters. That it has to validate ourselves somehow. That it’s going to be visible in any way. And that’s just not true. The fact is that that first draft is barely even a scaffold for what is to come. And it’s going to be very different for everyone. But you still approach it with the same thought. The same intention. It doesn’t matter if your zero draft is rough as all hell or clean and amazing. What matters is that you don’t care what it says, and you promise yourself that no-one will ever see it. When we sit down to write, we do it with a million people in our heads. All the people that we think of reading what we’re writing and judging it. And yeah, that’s going to happen at some point. That’s the whole idea. But it’s not going to be with that first step in the writing process.. For me it’s a few friends and previous work-mates who I had immense respect for. They used to all stand there behind me in my mind, reading every word that I put down on the page and judging it. I would think about what I was writing and what it said and how it would make them feel. I would backspace all over everything that i had written and start again. And it was pretty much the worst thing I could do. the main problem here is that it stops you from doing what needs doing. There is going to be a common theme here, resurfacing on this blog and on anything else I write about self-improvement in other blogs: the concept of Doubt. I define it as a part of the mind that is actively trying to stop you from doing what you really want to do. Dance, sing, write, whatever. I believe that we are creative beings, and there is a part of us that wants to create something, even if it’s a different structure within the company we work in or a better team dynamic. Where there’s something that you want to do and you find yourself not doing it for no good reason (when you really look at the reason) this is Doubt. Capital D. Doubt seems to know what it is that you want. Doubt wants to be comfortable and safe. And maybe you’re happy always acquiescing to what doubt wants. Well, that’s fine. But some people can’t handle that. And when the time comes, we need to find a way to push back. The zero draft is the first step. It’s the creation of something new. Everything I write starts as a zero draft. The concept is pretty simple: just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. You see, the problem is the beginning. The very first step. And you can’t piss around with this. It doesn’t matter if you spell words wrong. You don’t have to hit backspace (if you can stop the habit). you just write and write. There are a few important first steps though. The first is that you promise yourself that no-one will ever read it. This is the weapon you then use to silence those voices in your mind that are all over you about how what you’re writing is really shit. The second is you tell yourself that you are going to edit this stuff like crazy, and so it really doesn’t matter what’s coming out. Now how planned the writing is really depends. For these blog articles I will generally just write the zero draft with the title/subject in mind. Knowing that I’m writing about Zero Drafts, I’ll just write about what I think and my experience until I feel I’m done. It’s not until later revisions that I start coming up with headings, structure and all that sort of stuff. When it comes to the longer form fiction, I’ll have a plan easily visible where I can direct myself