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Top 10 Quotes On First Drafts

Spanish speaker? Many thanks to Sergio from Bloguionistas for translating this post into Spanish! READ IT HERE.

If like me you’re struggling with an unwieldy first draft of your novel or screenplay right now, I thought you might appreciate some of these quotes from famous people on the process.

Some of the quotes are uber-famous (especially number 1), plus I don’t agree with all of them (number 8 can go jump in particular, I’d say it’s TORTURE atm!) but it’s definitely a useful exercise to remember ALL writers go through this.

So keep on keeping on, Bang2writers!

Need MORE inspiration? Then check out my screenwriting books and have a great Easter.


1) Ernest Hemingway

“The first draft of anything is shit.”

2) Nicholas Sparks

“Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.”

3) Judy Blume

“I hate first drafts, and it never gets easier. People always wonder what kind of superhero power they’d like to have. I want the ability for someone to just open up my brain and take out the entire first draft and lay it down in front of me, so I can just focus on the second, third and fourth drafts.”

4) Colm Toibin

“The problem is once you’ve written the opening paragraph and worked out how the rest of the story will go in your head, there’s nothing in it for you.”

5) Nora Roberts

“Just get the story down.”

6) Dean Koontz

“I don’t write a quick draft and then revise; instead, I work slowly page by page, revising and polishing.”

7) Anne Tyler

I would advise any beginning writer to write the first drafts as if no one else will ever read them – without a thought about publication -and only in the last draft to consider how the work will look from the outside.

8) Winston Churchill

“Writing is an adventure.” 

 9) Ken Follett

“The research is the easiest. The outline is the most fun. The first draft is the hardest, because every word of the outline has to be fleshed out. The rewrite is very satisfying.”

10) Michael Lee

“The first draft reveals the art; revision reveals the artist.” 

Spanish speaker? Many thanks to Sergio from Bloguionistas for translating this post into Spanish! READ IT HERE.

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PsulitHyThen check out my screenwriting books, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon and all good book stores. Click the pics or to look inside Writing & Selling Drama Screenplays, CLICK HERE.



CLICK HERE to read an excerpt from Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays about the iconic character of Driver in the movie DRIVE, courtesy of B2W friends Film Doctor. Click on the pic or HERE, to look inside in the front of the book.


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1 thought on “Top 10 Quotes On First Drafts”

  1. Jean-Marie Mazaleyrat

    The first draft is what makes writing the easiest thing to do. Imagine we could fix every important thing we spoiled in our life: our first dating, our first (and last) meeting with this famous guy so important for our career, the assassination of our mother-in-law, and so on hahahaha… Rewriting is what gives you your greatest pleasure, making so great improvements by changing so few words… until you get a quite new story.

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