Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

The Exception to the Rule

Here’s where writing and music diverge: When writing or recording music, often the first take is the best. Everything that comes after may be more polished, but somehow less truthful, less raw. And it’s the truthful, raw emotion of the performance that resonates with the listener.

So why the difference with writing? Why is writing only good after lengthy, laborious editing? Why doesn’t writing lose its raw emotional content with brutal editing?

Since I’m still figuring this out, I can only venture a few guesses…

First of all, there probably are writers who are so good, either because they are naturally gifted, or because they have already gone through a lengthy process of learning, that they don’t need to edit ruthlessly.

Stream-of-conciousness writing is also a thing, so there’s that.

But this is something I think about — why is the maxim all first drafts are shit the accepted wisdom?

Maybe some times the first draft is the best, at least structurally (everything needs some editing.)

Having done both, it’s an artistic disconnect I’m grappling with.