The first draft is always therapy. Nobody sees it but me. Call this the ur-draft; it never gets a number.
The second draft I do is what everyone thinks of as the first draft. Call it D1. It's clever, funny, smart, and as light as a bubble. And underneath every word, like a hidden html location, is my name in bold letters.
D2 is a party to which I have invited every woman I've ever been attracted to. The ones I only want for a night are sent home first. The ones who push my bad buttons sit in a corner and wait for me to go to them. The ones who want me more than I want them become friends. And the ones who might actually work out for more than a night are the ones I wind up spending all my time with. They're the ones who go into this draft, and next to them everything else starts to look frivolous and shallow.
D3 is me being awakened at 2 AM with the words "We need to talk. Where is this going? I mean what's the point?" All I want to do is go back to sleep, but the woman next to me is not going to let that happen until she gets some answers. Which is why D3 is the hardest draft of all.
D4 is an arrangement that needs to be played before it can be assessed or rewritten. D4 is the choreography that needs a dancer, the song that needs a singer, the score that needs a chorus, the script that needs to get up on its feet and play before an audience before it can become D5.
D5 is what works. This time.