Thursday, 27 March 2014

The First Draft is Always Shit

The purpose of the first draft is to get stuff out of your head and into words.

Hopefully, after planning in so much detail, you will avoid extensive re-writes because you will have a (sometimes vague) idea of where the story is going and who is telling it.

BUT: Don't expect great things from your first draft.

My First Draft Process

  1. Every day I write something new.
  2. First draft stuff is written early in the day, when I'm still feeling creative.
  3. I have a word target. I do not get up from my chair until I reach this target. It might be 500 words, it might be 2000, but whatever it is, I keep going until I'm there.
  4. I begin by reviewing what I wrote the day before.  But I try not to edit it too much, otherwise I get stuck in Edit Mode. There's a big difference between Edit and Create.
  5. Once I reach my word target, if I'm in the zone, I keep going. (If I'm not, I go for a walk. I find walking clears away the cobwebs, helps me think knotty issues through.)
  6. Every day, I tell myself 'well done'.
  7. Repeat this process until finished.

And I DO NOT get worked up over what is happening until the story is finished.
Worrying about plot holes is a sure fire way to procrastinate.

Something like Nanowrimo can help - the way you get a little graph at the end of the day is quite cool. Plus, its nice to feel you're not alone.

Of course, this is all wonderful stuff. I break my rules all the time.

More  Information 

Want more information? Download this Free Tip Sheet here.


  1. Great advice! For me, worrying about plot holes is my biggest obstacle. When I'm outlining and come across a plot hole, I often ditch the idea completely and start from scratch. Needless to say, it's killing my productivity.

  2. I do that too! Don't stress, just keep writing. Often the plot holes aren't as bad as you imagine, and can be resolved with just minor tweaks. I find the best thing to do is to just get the ideas down on paper, and then see what has emerged. Unless of course you are one of those amazing writers who plans everything in detail - in which you won't have surprises. Wish I worked like that!

  3. Thanks Rachel!! (Not sure why my original comment showed up as "Unknown".) I think I'm trying too hard to be a planner. Ideally, I'd like to know exactly where my scene/story is going before I sit down to write anything. However, I think I need to embrace a bit of spontaneity and write without a detailed plan if I want to finish anything. :)