Oh, how I love the concept of Shitty First Drafts! If it’s not a phrase you’re familiar with, it comes from the brilliant book “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott. It is one of my favorite books EVER!
Although it is a book about writing, the lessons are equally profound when you apply them to life.
In 2016, a much-loved friend and coaching colleague, Laurie Foley passed away from ovarian cancer. She died 43 months after first being diagnosed.
Laurie was famous for telling people "your pencil is sharp enough".
She was talking to those of us who have things that we want to do so badly but we stay in a state of perpetual preparation rather than actually doing those things. We keep sharpening our pencil more and more and more telling ourselves that we will write a book/launch a business/leave a job we hate/travel the world/turn our love of photography into a business/write a play/curate a show of our artwork/train to be a chef/start playing piano again/become a stand-up comic/etc/etc/blah/blah/blah when we are “ready”.
We talk, we analyze, we procrastinate, we beat ourselves up for procrastinating, we go for dinner with friends and tell them again how much we want to do this thing or leave this other thing and yet, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, dinner after dinner, we don't actually do the things we say we so desperately want to do.
In her brilliant book, "Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life", Anne Lamott talks about the importance of shitty first drafts to writers. I'm a firm believer that "Shitty First Drafts" are equally important for anything else in life you want to do.
Sometimes you just need help to get started. To go from thinking about what’s next to actually doing something about it.