Building off the previous section, this is Lamott’s time to address the demon that plagues all writers. The desire to be perfect can be crippling “it will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft” (pg. 130 iBooks version). Lamott describes the sensation of perfectionism as muscles cramping around a wound, an imperfect draft. But though it hurts to stretch them, only by forcing the muscles to move so the wound can heal will the writer be able to beat their shitty first draft.

Again, this section follows Sommers’ ideas, but attacks the issue from a slightly different angle from before. Rather than just champion the idea of multiple drafts, Lamott tries to strike down the idea of getting perfection on the first try, which is what leads to the loss of revision in current pedagogy. Lamott’s perfectionism is the same as James Britton’s model of conception-incubation-production which Sommers lambasts in her writings, and it is that idea of perfectionism that Lamott rejects.


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