Dear Writer,

Are you avoiding a certain story? Yeah, you know the one. That messy jumble of words fermenting in your computer. The one you wrote in a manic whirlwind, salivating and wild eyed. The one that you just read and makes you want to cry.

The first draft of anything is shit, as good old Hem used to say. It’s a rough chunk of wood you must whittle and smooth.

Read your manuscript again and again. Try to discern its shape. Think about what it wants to say. Then rewrite. Omit. Replace. Add the fine details. Sand the edges. Refine the message.

Ernest Hemingway — ‘The first draft of anything is shit.’