I was going to title this post “How to Keep From Setting Your First Draft on Fire,” but I thought to myself Hey, that’s not a good way of thinking. And I promised Natalie I was going to write about perseverance while drafting, so what better way to begin by having a positive title? ;)
Anyway, writers generally have two ways of thinking when they’re working on the first draft of their WiP: they love it or hate it. Then there’s folks like me who do a little of both. Seriously, some days I’d fly through a chapter, loving every word that flowed from my fingers. Others, I’d sit and stare and stare and stare some more, hating every word I’d written. Then I’d get discouraged and procrastinate (my procrastination methods of choice are Twitter and blogging). Sometimes the procrastination would last for days. *whispers* Or weeks. Trust me, you do NOT want to do that. So here are a few ways to keep yourself going until that first draft is done.
1. Tell yourself to keep writing, no matter what. Yes, I know it’s tough, but if you stop for a very long period of time it’s even harder to start writing again. If you feel you absolutely have to take a break, make sure it’s only for a day or two. Keep the writing momentum going.
2. Get some cheerleaders. Not real cheerleaders, but folks who understand how important writing is to you. It could be anyone: spouse, friends, siblings, your kids, or critique partners. In my case, I couldn’t live without my CPs. They’ve talked me down from the ledge more times than I can remember =)
3. Reward yourself. Set a daily or weekly goal of what you want to achieve and pick out something you really want. If you meet your goal, watch that movie you’ve been dying to see or buy something you’ve been eyeing in the stores for a while.
4. Understand that the first draft is going to be bad and accept it. If you listen to the EIE (Evil Inner Editor) too much during the first draft, you’ll never finish. You’ll avoid letting others read your work in fear of causing them permanent eye damage, therefore making them to hate you forever and ever. Not so. By embracing whatever comes forth, you will keep the writing momentum going (see number 1). Then you’ll end up with a draft that CAN and WILL be fixed.
5. Realize your draft is going to shine during revisions. First drafts are for getting the story out of your system. It’s getting the framework down on paper. It’s putting the clay on the potter’s wheel. Revising is when your story will really take shape and become its sparkly best. After all, diamonds don’t look like they do in the jewelry store when they’re first mined, right?
There you have it folks. These methods may not work for everybody, but they’ve helped me.
Do you have any methods to stay positive while drafting your books?
Tomorrow, Tina Lynn from Sweet Niblets is going to blog about beginnings, so don't miss it!