Ugh. Oh. Eh.

That's how I feel when I need to get my annual pelvic exam. And it's also how I feel when I need to draft a written assignment. It's been almost 10 years since I got my first pap smear, and I've been writing papers since elementary school; but there is still something uncomfortable, yet relieving about creating my first draft. It's like the annual trip we (ladies) must take to that office where we strip down, leaving nothing but our private parts vulnerable to examination. Writers, both male, and female, experience similar feelings of awkwardness when embarking on the daunting task of crafting a first draft.

The idea is knocking around in my head and I've been summoned by a professor or I've committed to some sort of obligation. This means I must deliver. But what does it take to produce compelling content that conveys confidence and credibility?

For writers, we can think of the first draft as a body of text that needs to be examined for flaws and prevent issues that may develop in the future. When we get over the Krabby Patty-ness about getting the work done, and actually get it done, we can begin the review. Like when at the gynecologist, we must strip down revealing all surface-level insecurities, the ones we can so easily cover up in our day-to-day lives.

All of us do not have to make valid points every day, or succinctly list supporting details for an argument or even speak meaningfully. But for writers, that's our goal. We want to place words on the page that speak effectively to our designated audiences. We want to relate with people. Want to be applauded. We want to be accepted.

Achieving all of those things means we're in top literary shape. Similar to the pelvic exam, checking up on your writing parts requires a particular technique. First, feel for lumps; is your voice clear? Be sure no dangling modifiers are in sight. Did you establish your main point and provide supporting details? If checks are next to all three, the promise of healthy first drafts is in reach.

But to get positive results, we need to be open to examination. Writers need to be OK with being very uncomfortable. Great prose doesn't come about from someone being comfortable. In fact, the best writing is usually the product of some sort of conflict or trauma. Consider getting it out as a form of healing. It's for our own good. To make us hearty, healthy wordsmiths.

Don't worry, disrobe and allow yourself to feel unclothed. Spread-eagle. Lay your thoughts down. The experts and professionals who mean well will be there to examine your parts and provide necessary feedback. It's good for us.