“Writing that is over-planned and over-rehearsed is juiceless. Later drafts are about pumping it up. How much better to have a wild and somewhat unruly first draft, something so full of detail, it’s a question of what we want to leave in, not a question of what still needs to be added.” –Julia Cameron
If Julia Cameron, writing guru, expert, and teacher, (she wrote the classic, The Artist’s Way) tells us that writing is passionate, we should believe her!
Think about it. The first draft of a piece should be written because there is something that you want to say, or explore, or yell, or share. It should be written in a state of excitement as you purposefully, or excitedly, or angrily rush to get your ideas down on paper before you lose them.
Passionate writing is fiery. It has energy and a strong voice. It demands to be read. It ignites strong feeling in the reader.
Passionate writing is energizing. It is fun to write. When you are done, you feel exhilarated.
A passionate writer is hunkered down over his or her paper, writing furiously, not distracted, but absorbed only by what is in head and heart.
When you look at a passionately written first draft, it is sloppy. It might jump around a lot. There are probably sentence fragments, and undeveloped or tangential thinking. That is okay. That is how a first draft should look. That just means that all of that richness of thinking will be there on the page to sort through later. And all of that energy will result in writing that is anything but dull and lifeless. Robert Frost tells us, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” And of course he means if the writer doesn’t “feel” his subject then neither will the reader.
Ideas are flighty things. If you don’t get them down you might not have access to them later. It is better to have a first draft that is too rich, too thick, too full of ideas then one that is so slim that it has no life, no energy, and therefore it is not fertile enough to grow anything in the second draft.
True, not all writing is going to be like this. Not all writing will immediately stir passion in the writer. But it is good, very good, to have at least some of our writing originate from our passions, or interests or curiosities. And the truth is, once beginning writers feel the satisfaction of exploring a new idea through their writing and then experience readers responding to their passions, they begin to feel passionate about the act of writing itself.