The Write Stuff Interviews Advice for Writers

Clean First Draft Writing: Interview with Author Dean Wesley Smith

Clean First Draft Writing by Dean Wesley Smith Cover Image

Clean first draft writing is not a myth!

Because I’m stubborn, I always have to circle around an idea and test it out a few times before I trust it.

So when Dean Wesley Smith, someone I consider an excellent writing mentor, told me to staaaaaaahp with all the editing and just let my subconscious take over on the writing, I took my sweet time trying it out.

I didn’t really want to. It’s intimidating.

Eventually, I got to the point where I tried it, mostly because I had too many ghostwriting projects to get done in too little time.

This method 100% works. Do I use it 100% of the time? No. I get insecure. But I use it as much as I can stomach it, 80% of the time. And I’ve been very prolific because of it, even counting [cough] that one book I rewrote like seven times and never finished.

That one book where I didn’t use the damn method.

So if you’re spinning your wheels on rewrites, give this a try. There are several techniques involved to help make it easier and more efficient. It’s not comfortable at first, but it’s a good path for repeat success as a writer.

Clean First Draft Writing is part of the Write Stuff Storybundle, ten works on the craft & business of writing fiction available for a limited time.

UPDATE! The Write Stuff Storybundle is over, but you can still find Dean’s class at the updated link below:

I got to ask Dean a few questions for the StoryBundle!

1. What type of writer is your book aimed toward? 

The class is aimed at helping all fiction writers with getting past some myths and saving a lot of time in their writing by writing clean to start with instead of the myth of first, sloppy drafts. So any fiction writer will benefit.

 2. What problem does your book solve for those writers?

The problem the class helps solve is to allow fiction writers to write from their creative voice, keep the creative voice in control, and not write sloppy and cause their creative voice to quit and cause the writer more work later. Plus writing clean the first time through is a lot more fun because you get to more stories instead of wasting time churning over old ones.

3. Who do you consider your writing mentors? 

I was lucky with my writing mentors. I learned from (and was friends with) Algis Budrys, Jack Williamson, Harlan Ellison, Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm. All wrote clean drafts of their stories.

Clean writing is also a lot more fun because you eventually learn to just go with the flow and be entertained as you write!

Dean’s bio:

Considered one of the most prolific writers working in modern fiction, New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer Dean Wesley Smith published far over two hundred novels in forty years, and hundreds and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction books. He has over twenty-three million copies of his books in print.

You can find Dean at:

His website:

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