In Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Lamott talks about the necessity of what she famously terms “shitty first drafts.” Novelist Michael Chabon has also said that his first drafts are as bad as the writing he did in high school. I pass on this advice in my writing classes constantly: have the courage to write badly. However, in practice, I find that writing badly takes even more courage than the kind I espouse to students. The blank page terrifies me, and what terrifies me even more is the way my first attempts to fill the page with words come out as complete garbage. After years of reading, writing, and teaching writing, the flaws of what I’m producing are all the more glaring, I’m all the more aware of how much work will be necessary to transform these first drafts into anything resembling a story, a work of creative non-fiction, anything that anyone else would like to read. That kind of recognition is very humbling, and humility is not a popular personality trait these days. Maybe it’s one worth cultivating, not just for ourselves as writers but also for our selves.