man typing

Write your lousy first draft!

I’m a big believer in organizing your thoughts before you start writing. However, please don’t wait until your thoughts are perfectly organized to start your first draft. Waiting for perfection means you may never write anything. On the other hand, a lousy first draft can be a great starting point.

A Margaret Atwood quote recently reminded me of the importance of starting to write.

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.

Do what you can to organize your thoughts first. You may write an outline, mull over ideas in your head, or draw a mind map, a technique that I explain in Financial Blogging: How To Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients. Do what you can, but then move on.

The great thing about a draft—even a lousy first draft—is that it gives you material that you can fix. Also, the act of writing helps you to process your information. It’ll give you a better idea of what you’re trying to say.

Once you’ve drafted your piece—whether it’s as short as a tweet or as long as a white paper—you can analyze it. Look first at the big picture, as I describe in ”5 steps for rewriting your investment commentary.” Once you’ve fixed those issues, you can dig into the details.

If editing isn’t your strength, consider hiring an editor, like Sheri Fitts of ShoeFitts Marketing. When Sheri and I spoke on her “Women Rocking Wall Street” podcast, she told me that she sends her drafts to an editor. That’s a great use of outsourcing.

If you can’t afford an editor, ask a colleague, family member, or friend for feedback. Don’t let your desire for perfection stop you from writing. Start your draft today!


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