168: MMM - On Creating the Best Worst First Draft of Your Presentation (Part One)


How do you write the best (worst) first draft of your presentation? Along with being a theater major in college, I was also an English major. I loved loved loved being on stage (I know), but I also loved to write. Little did I know I was basically creating for myself the building blocks of my life now. All I knew then was that I loved them both and didn’t want to choose. (Funny how I rejected the idea of being a communications major. Nope, didn’t want that.)

Anyway - I remember sitting in what was infamously known as being a really difficult writing class with Sister Mara. (It was a small liberal arts catholic college.) Sister Mara was a really tough grader - but a brilliant mentor and guide. The assignment was to come up with a metaphor for the process of writing…

You guys - I LOVE METAPHORS! They are the best... so meaty, and you can create and assign so much meaning in them… and to me, that’s the best kind of meaning to find… in layers of other things, because it helps us FEEL those ideas more? - ya know?

Anyway - I remember sitting there and thinking that my metaphor for writing was a make-out session. (So very senior year in college of me to say!)

But essentially what I was thinking was that writing is exploratory for me…

Now, as a grown-up I might say something more like writing is like a walk I took through the Redwoods in Northern California several years ago in this beautiful, sort of mystical place… exploratory, searching, I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I really enjoy the experience of finding out (hahah a- which is really funny if you apply those same ideas to my make-out sessions.( Ahhahaha. Ahem)


Some of those same elements apply to us as we create our talks.

We want to go on the journey. We might have an IDEA of where we’re going. We’re not sure how we’re going to get there. And so… we face down the possibility of a draft of... something.

Here are five tips to diving in and writing the best WORST first draft of your talk that you can: But first: a quote:

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.
— Stephen King


#1 - BEGIN. -
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

#2 - Let yourself be surprised (no editing yourself) -
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” ― Robert Frost

I'm #3 - Put in the kitchen sink - “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ― Anaïs Nin

#4 - Let it wind around and around… you’re exploring, and that’s good. Try on all the ideas. “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

(You gotta have lots of bad ideas before you land on the good one.)

#5 - Find a program that doesn’t get in your way. works to capture your “true” speaking voice - omni outliner, voice memo, brainstorming docs, word… and

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath


Links & Resources

Be brave in your exploration.

And if you share this draft with a coach - know that a good coach will see this as something within which the masterpiece lives…. and it is her job to chisel away at what you have to help you see it for yourself, and reveal it to the world.

Off you go, Movers!