General · Writing

Edits 101: The point of 1st drafts…

Hey guys,

Writing is hard, especially when you are a perfectionist. When your typing along and suddenly nothing makes sense and you just want to scrap it. When you keep going over the same sentence, over, and over, and over. When you just can’t think of the right word to use, so you change the whole sentence.

Stop.

When you start writing you novel, or you short story; it’s going to be terrible. That is why it is called the first draft. It’s there to simply get the basic idea down on paper, to get it out of your head and somewhere you can actually play with it.

Imagine the first draft as the building blocks. Each theme and plot twist is a block. Before you can build your fantastic castle with these blocks, you need to get them out of the box. Dumping the blocks on the floor is your first draft. You are finding what you have to work with.

How many towers can you build? How big can it be?

But I know what you’re thinking. A horrible first draft could never be polished up to a sellable novel! Or possibly; but I wanted to write it and publish it this month!

Most published authors produce between 1 and 2 works each year; there are numerous self-help books out there for speeding the process up. One of the best I saw was named ‘How to write your novel in 9 weeks!’ and I thought ‘wow! I could publish 5 books a year and I will be a millionaire by the time I am 30!’ Then the book arrived and I was sorely disappointed to know that how the author was describing a novel was more like the size of a novella (roughly 30-50,000 words) and expected you to write your first draft in 1 week.

As someone who writes… me writing 50,000 words in one week is never going to happen. (Never say never!)

Writing your first draft is the first step in many. Your story is going to completely change a million times over before you get to the publication stages; and then it will change some more.

But if you don’t get the building blocks down, if you expect to write a masterpiece immediately; then you’re going to be disappointed and most likely put off writing for good.

So a challenge for you!

Write something terrible. Utterly terrible. It could be 100 words or 3000 words. Write it. Save it. Then in a few weeks, come back and work on it. Change a few things about it. Try and understand why you hate it. Save it. Come back and do the same thing again and again, until you are happy with it.

It’s a slow process, but only you can do it.

Helen

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