Writing a First Draft
Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
National Novel Writing Month starts this Friday! For those who don’t know what this is, you can go to the NaNoWriMo site here and learn all about it. The point is to write 50,000 words of a novel in November. I think it’s great for discipline and for getting that first draft out. A terrific way to stop procrastinating and just do it!
Are you working on a novel, or planning to start one? This Friday would be a good time to get started with a goal of 50k-in-30-days.
And to make your writing process even more fun and productive, RescueTime is offering a membership along with their premium productivity tools free to writers during November. Click here to learn more and sign up.
So let’s talk about writing that first draft. Keep in mind we’re all different and we have unique strategies that work for us; these are general tips meant to be helpful. If they don’t work for you, throw them out.
1. Now is NOT the time to self-edit or worry about all those writing tips you’ve been taught. Just write. Let the words flow. If you’ve been studying the craft, you’ll naturally be inclined to show more than tell, write snappy dialogue, and be aware of how much backstory you’re allowing in. That’s great. But don’t let yourself get caught up in those details. Keep the forward momentum going. Your best writing will happen in the revision process.
2. Provide yourself uninterrupted time to write. This is a tough one, with jobs and families. But honestly, I think your biggest challenge is going to be staying off the Internet when you’re writing. I was recently re-reading Stephen King’s On Writing and he talks about having a quiet space to write, turning off the telephone, even closing the window shades to avoid distractions. How EASY it would be, if that’s all we had to worry about! King wrote it before the era of online social networking. The difficult truth is this: If you’re going to be a writer, you must set aside writing time and hold it as sacred.
3. Get your family involved. If you live with other people who depend on you for things like bringing home the bacon and/or frying it up in the pan, you’re not going to be able to accomplish this alone. I’ve said this all before so forgive me if it sounds familiar, but I think it’s important, when writing a first draft or writing on a deadline, to consider various ways to call in the reinforcements. Get more help with cooking, grocery shopping, housecleaning or lawn-mowing if possible. Delegate!
4. Remember this is a first draft. Lately I’ve seen a lot of ranting online from agents reminding writers: Do not submit in December whatever you wrote in November. Anyone who writes a first draft in a month is going to need several months to revise and polish. Revisions are when the real crafting happens. So don’t proudly start querying on December 1st with your NaNoWriMo project. (Unless it was last’s year’s NaNoWriMo project.)
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? What’s your goal—an entire novel, or half of one? Have you ever done this before? How’d it work for you? If you’re not going to do it—why not? Leave a comment!
? Click here to read today’s post at rachellegardner.com for more info about RescueTime and a fun infographic showing the 5 Habits of Highly Motivated Novelists.
4 tips for writing a first draft from @RachelleGardner. Click to Tweet.
“Now is NOT the time to self-edit.” via @RachelleGardner. #NaNoWriMo #firstdraft. Click to Tweet.
“Get your family involved,” says @RachelleGardner. #NaNoWriMo #firstdraft. Click to Tweet.