When I receive praise for my poetry, plays, and other works, it is easy to forget about the notebooks full of writing from my past years. When I do read my old writing, which I remember as the utmost incredible pieces of literature that I had ever written, I often wish that I hadn’t. There are even days when I want to burn them from physical existence in hopes that the incoherent sentences and serial killer handwriting will never be seen again. Unfortunately, I can’t always say that this has changed. Reading my former work is one of the most amusing and excruciating moments of being a writer.
When I am reading the work of Shakespeare, J.California Cooper, Anton Chekhov and even Dr. Seuss, the possibility that there was any other version of their well-chosen words and rhythmic syntax is unimaginable to me. Nevertheless, it is true that the work I admire, at some point had a first draft. For example, when I read “Traveling Through the Dark” by William Stafford, I was unable to fathom how Stafford created such a profound, sorrowful, and exquisite poem. However, as I researched the poem, I happened upon its multiple drafts. While I examined draft after draft, I felt a connection to Stafford. He and I, in a sense, were the same. In an odd and unique way, all writers are the same. We all go through the process of discovering and changing our work until we believe it is presentable.
To be able to grow as a writer, it requires hard work and willingness to revise your poems, nonfiction, plays, stories, or whatever else you’re working on. I must admit that sometimes it seems like it would be more satisfying to write the perfect draft in one go. Be that as it may, the late night frustrations, animosity, and eventual respect you develop for your writing is the most exciting part about the craft. So, don’t worry about where you are or where you are going. As long as you love writing and motivate yourself to grow, the final draft will no doubt be amazing.
Harmony Wicker, Class of 2018