First Loves and Rough Drafts, or Rough Loves and First Drafts by Kevin Sebastian

posted Sep 28, 2017, 8:07 AM by Writing Center
Finishing a rough draft of an essay is much like falling in love. We are dazzled by its beauty and intelligence. We treat it as if it were perfect and flawless, thus cultivating this idea that nothing must be wrong with it and that nothing should be changed. Most importantly, we see ourselves in it—these are our thoughts, our ideas expressed on paper, so we are in a sense, reflected in it—much like when we see similar personality traits in someone we love. Your Tinder profile picture has an adorable shih-tzu in it, so you must be a dog person like I am! [Proceeds to swipe right.]
 

What then results from this initial rush of happiness? Usually, we are blinded by that same dazzle that we don’t see the red flags (Those incessant, non-stop texts we receive all day asking where we are, what we’re doing, we explain to our friends, just show how much they like us, not that they’re possessive or clingy or unhinged.). We say that our thesis can’t be weak because it absolutely makes sense to me. These ideas don’t need clarification. Sentence fragment? Where? What happens is that we become deeply invested in our relationship with this draft, and so who cares if he drives a motorcycle without a helmet, mom?

Before we know it, we’re in a loveless relationship, wherein smoking a cigarette and ironing his shirts while watching Investigation Discovery is the highlight of our day. Wait—we’re talking about writing drafts. Yes, before we know it, we’ve submitted that same rough draft, unchanged because we’re so convinced of its flawlessness, and our professor returns it marked with an abundance of red.

So try not to fall deeply, madly, dangerously in love with him—I mean, with your draft. Evaluate it. Ask your friends to look at it. Visit the Writing Center. Judge your work objectively. And most importantly, revise.

Of course, I am being facetious. Falling in love with a person is not like falling in love with your draft. After all, you’re not responsible for the creation of the person you fall in love with, but you are indeed responsible for willing to being the words and sentences that form your draft. However, the analogy can be a useful one. Take it from a bitter, love-jaded person who is definitely not me: don’t fall in love too quickly—especially with your draft (or, more appropriately, especially a person). But if you don’t want to take it from me, take it from the pioneering psychologist Carl Jung who wrote, “If you go to thinking, take your heart with you. If you go to love, take your head with you. Love is empty without thinking, thinking hollow without love.”

Falling in love is not cerebral, but employing a little critical-mindedness is good, whereas writing is cerebral, but it cannot be fully devoid of emotion—perhaps even of that most mysterious of feelings: love.

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