For the thousands of writers working on their first drafts, only a small percentage of them actually finish it. The pitfalls are many, but I believe doubt and fear are the biggest culprits. I start off on a huge high, but by the time I've hit the first 30 pages I already doubt myself. Is this story going anywhere? Is it flowing evenly or am I jumping around with too many characters and backstories
When I draw or paint; I sketch first. I use a pencil, draw lightly and eek out vague images of what will be. I know it’s just the bones of the drawing - the meat comes later. I should do the same with writing. So I have rethought my plan of attack for my first draft. I will look at my first draft as the bones of the story. First, make an outline – and be prepared not to stick to it. The outline will be my guide through the corridors until I get to the ballroom (to dance, of course). I now know that my characters may change or fade away all together. New subplots or characters may appear. I will free myself to allow the story to go in unexpected directions, even to the point where the main plot may change.
When I realize I need to fill in more information or research something for accuracy, instead of stopping I'll just highlight these sections in red. After the complete story is laid out I can go back and fill in whatever may be needed or correct any historical faux pas. This actually makes me feel a lot better about approaching and finishing that first draft. What was I thinking? Of course I'm not limited to that draft. I’m writing it on a computer – editing is no problem at all. Nothing is “written in stone” and no one needs to see it until I'm ready. I just need to remember that during the first draft I wear my creative hat and in the second draft I put on my editing hat. I plan to really enjoy that first draft now that I realize I can write with wild abandon! As my friend and author Mariam
What are your thoughts about writing a first draft? Have you started and then stopped because you felt “stuck” or that your story just wasn't good enough? Did you leave it and come back at another time? Did you just abandon it altogether? Or maybe you are a published writer. Do you remember the emotions, setbacks, triumphs of finally finishing that first draft? Please feel free to leave a comment below. I find reading other writers comments and questions very helpful to others who are researching about the craft of writing.
Below I have posted 10 Rules for Writing First Drafts. I thought they were some great rules to think about when writing your first draft. Good luck with yours and KEEP WRITING!
Until next time… Tina