Today I received a question from a fifth grader that I wished I'd answered differently. Earlier, during my PowerPoint presentation, I spoke about writing from the heart. I also shared some of my rewriting techniques.
Afterwards, the young man asked, "How do you write a first draft?"
I told him to ask the question, "What if?" and explore the possibilites. It was an okay answer, but this is what I wish I'd said:
Young writer, relax and be brave. If you can't think of a perfect first sentence, don't worry. Give yourself permission to write a lousy first sentence. Keep moving your pen across the page. Make a movie in your mind. See it, smell it, hear it. Write it down. Fill the page with words. Keep writing. Keep writing. Don't worry if your draft doesn't sparkle. If it does, that's terrific, but it's not the goal of this draft. That comes later.