Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.

More About the First Draft.

The first draft is the most important part of your writing. Why? Because without words on a page, there will be no story.

If you find the first draft hard work, it's worth thinking: Does the problem lie within?

Personality Barriers to Finishing the First Draft

  • Impatience.  If you are the sort of person who likes things to happen fast, you'll have to adjust your expectations. A novel appears slowly: word after word, page after page. Sure, you can read a book quickly. But writing one takes time.
  • Commitment. If you are serious about your writing, you will have to make space for it. Not just physical space, although that helps - but time. Turn off your phone, ditch your job, whatever. It won't happen if you don't let it. Words do not appear by magic.
  • Inadequacy. For me, this is the biggest block. Sometimes, writing a novel is like jumping off a cliff; feel the fear, but do it anyway

More Practical Tips.

  • Routines are a writer's friend. Get up early, write late, when your kid has a nap, when you get home from school. Doesn't matter. Important thing is - that you write.
  • Carry a notebook with you. That way, you can squeeze in writing at down times - when your son's late from his tennis lesson, or when you're at lunch. For short-burst writing, I find notebooks easier than electronics. Transcribing is quicker than creating, though, so once it's in your book, you only have to type it up. (Some people find an iPad works for this too, but I find the keyboard annoying.)
  • Have a word target. I've said this before, and believe me, it really helps.
  • Create a dedicated writing space. Because you know where everything is, a special writing place saves you time.
  • Don't ask for feedback too early - remember, first drafts are not polished gems.
  • Watch your back and your posture. Getting repetitive strain injury will slow you down. And give yourself regular breaks from your keyboard.
  • More is not necessarily better. I can only do about two hours on a first draft piece.  After that time, the creative part of my brain gets tired and sluggish. When that happens, it's time to walk away.
  • Most importantly: Back up your work. 

And tell yourself - "Well Done!" 

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