Well, here we go again. Once again peppering my writing with the word “vomit.” I’ve written previously about vomit in a literal sense, complaining that there’s too much of that stuff on t.v. And now, my very own profession, writing, is starting to get bombarded with the stuff. I’m talking about the “vomit draft” in writing. What’s up with that?
What is the Vomit Draft in Writing?
I first found out about the concept of the vomit draft on Twitter. An interesting phrase, to say the least, but also one that requires a good grain of salt to accept because not everything on Twitter is true, you know. People kid around all the time and the truth may be conveniently masked behind dumb language such as “vomit draft.”
In writing, the term vomit draft is used to describe the process of getting a first draft of writing completed, no matter what. Interestingly, in every instance where I’ve seen this phrase used, it has been in connection with fiction writing, particularly when characters are deep in dialogue. “Just get the draft done. It’s a vomit draft.” That means the quality doesn’t matter, so long as the darn thing gets written.
After I learned about that phrase, I was very happy forgetting about it. It’s just too much of a foreign concept in my own life, so why deal with it? Except, I read it again this morning and was bothered enough to write about my distaste of it. I just finished reading a blog post about quieting the inner editor in one’s writing. It seemed innocuous enough. Nina Amir’s stuff is always simple, and black-and-white, and easy to digest.
In this blog post, Nina encourages writers to write first and edit later. I agree to a certain extent on that philosophy and was just getting ready to leave a comment when she hit me with the dreaded expression. Except, Nina changed the wording around a bit and made it less offensive and more clever. Instead of citing the dreaded vomit draft, she calls it shlock. She is basically giving writers encouragement to produce junk, which still sounds better than vomit, in order to get the darn manuscript completed.
An Alternative View on Vomit Drafts
Look, I’m so bothered by the whole concept of producing poorly written first drafts, it’s not even funny. I did a little research on this and am learning that people seem to be calling their first drafts as vomit drafts because it is their solution to fear. Writers seem to have a fear of making decisions in writing while others view writing as a difficult process. In both cases, their only solution seems to be to produce the vomit draft because it cures all fears and gives you something to work with.
Once again, I feel like the little orphan child lost in a sea all by myself because I do not agree with this seemingly majority viewpoint on vomit drafts. In the same way I choose to not honor Stephen King’s writing advice the way so many others do, I also cannot stomach the possibility of allowing myself to write garbage only to spend my precious time cleaning up my garbage later on. It just doesn’t work like that for me. Let’s just say I consider myself blessed when it comes to writing because I just don’t feel the need or the desire to produce anything that is vomit-worthy.
My origins in writing are totally and completely different than those of other writers. Nearly 8 times out of 10, I begin my writing process on some sort of passionate level, whether it is true love for a subject or true disgust. Honestly, it is much easier for me to write starting with disgust, because the passion flows easily and quickly. When you don’t like something, it’s always so easy listing your reasons why!
Personal Passion Reigns Supreme
Having a true and sincere passion on any given topic is the type of strength or push needed to create a written work and make it good. The writing comes out smoothly and naturally when it begins with passion. It is not necessary to give wings to fear about writing when the foundation of passion is the true driving force. I think writers just need to ask themselves whether they like a given topic or not. Liking or not liking something should create a sense of passion, and where there is passion, there is enthusiasm.
When I am passionate about something in either direction, whether in the positive or the negative, I find it easy to write. There is no time to get scared about whether I can carry my writing through to completion because I am way too busy scrambling to write longhand or type as fast as my fingers will let me (I do both). As Nina Amir suggests, I don’t stop to edit myself along the way because I have to hurry up and make sure my passion comes out completely and thoroughly.
If writers learned to harvest the power of passion in their writing in the first place, the concept of vomit drafts would never even enter their line of thinking. There are many ways to harvest passion in writing. I will likely explore those ways in future blog posts. For now, I leave you all with a pretty blunt directive: Leave the vomit draft writing style to writers who don’t know how to write and learn to harvest your own passion. I promise, it will get you much further in your writing!