10 Tips for Writing a First Draft

Writing your first draft can be tough going, here are 10 tips to help you survive the process. 

1. Keep a good stock of coffee handy or Red Bull in the fridge, you’re probably going to need it.

2. Know what times of day you work best and make certain you’re in a seat with your manuscript open during those hours. 

3. Set yourself goals. Dividing your larger goal into smaller, more easily accomplished targets will make the task not quite so insurmountable.

4. Put your phone on silent, close your Internet browser (yes, you’ll have to get off Twitter) and barricade yourself in your writing cave. Remove distractions, so it is only you and that blank piece of paper left.

5. Write like crazy. Get everything down and keep going until you’re finished.

6. Don’t stop writing when your inspiration runs low and you feel as though you have writers block. Keep powering through!

7. Remember, it’s okay for the first draft to suck. This is why we edit!

8. The first draft is all about the story. Don’t be afraid to follow characters down different paths than you originally may have outlined. Now is the time to try those different routes and explore your world. If you hit a dead end, that’s okay. You probably discovered things that won’t work for your story but also other elements that will improve it.

9. Once you’ve finished your first draft, leave it for a while. Give yourself a break and come at it again with fresh eyes when you’re ready for your second draft.

10. When you finish, take a moment to be proud of what you’ve achieved! The book is far from over, but it’s written. Now you just have to perfect it.