When I express myself through my writing, I am the clearest version of myself.
We all want to express ourselves, artists and nonartists alike. There is something in us, thrumming in our hearts and souls, begging to be let out. But expression does not always come easy. If you have anxiety, you know the feeling of spending an evening on the couch, rehashing every single thing you said or did that day (especially pre-quarantine), smacking yourself on the head. You doof! you want to say, even regarding innocent conversation.
You can never go back and edit the words that came out of your mouth. But you can with writing. Last week we talked about Shannon Hale’s sandcastles quote, about how a first draft is a pile of sand, and subsequent drafts are attempts to make castles from the sand. Your first draft is a vomit, for lack of a better word. You want to get it allllll out onto the paper or screen, because no one need read it but you! Afterwards, you can chisel away at it, removing and adding words and turns of phrase, reorganizing, and reworking until the piece represents what you actually want to say. It’s like the real you speaking, not your evil twin who bores people with talk of work and the weather and snaps when they mean to smile.
Writing allows us to think before we speak. The first draft is all of your thoughts on a topic, or every single last theme you want to cram into your novel, and the subsequent drafts are you deciding, which thoughts are important? Which themes are the most important, most necessary themes? You don’t want your reader to be lost. You want to be clear.