Tips for Making the First Draft Easier

Writing the first draft isn't easy. At times, it's fun. It can be the best and worst part of writing. But no matter how long you've been a writer, drafting never becomes easier. But there are some tips that I've gathered along the way.

1. Outline before hand

Obviously, this tip is not for everyone (pansters prefer to write the story without any sort of outline). However, writing an outline helps defeat writer's block and help with that "who's driving this thing?" feeling you get somewhere between chapters 9 and 16. It will also make drafting a faster process with less revisions afterward.

2. Write out of order

No one said that you had to write your story starting at chapter one and working your way to the end. If you're approaching a wall, skipping that chapter and moving on to a fresh chapter will still allow you to meet your daily word count. Plus, if you have unfinished chapters after writing the end of your novel, it makes the motivation to go back and finish them significantly stronger.

3. Don't go back and edit

If you struggle with finishing your projects, this is the most important tip I can give you. Don't look back. Even if you accidentally change a character's name halfway through the story, keep going. You're way more likely to finish if you churn out the story rather than pausing and fixing your errors. That's the point of revisions. 

4. Give yourself permission to suck

This is actually a tip from John Green, and it's one of my favorites. Rather than agonizing over every line of your writing, accept that first drafts will never be perfect and move on. You can think of a snappier line of dialogue after you finish the story and know your characters better. 

5. Don't research as you go

I know the temptation of spending three hours on a Wikipedia binge or researching the etymology of a new character name. But don't. Those are three hours that you could be spending writing. It doesn't matter if you don't know port from starboard in your first draft. Just let it be (insert Frozen lyrics).

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