Beginner’s Guide to the First Draft

– Anna’s Analysis –

December 1, 2019

It can be quite overwhelming to complete a first draft, especially when you’re a first-time author. First drafts are when your book is at its worst; you will find that there are big gaps in the plot, characters that you’ve accidentally given two different descriptions, and an overwhelming number of spelling and grammatical mistakes. 

However, if you’re determined enough to commit to the writing process and put endless hours into shaping your idea into reality, there’s no reason that you can’t complete your goal. 

Here are a couple of tips and tricks to help you complete your first draft as painlessly as possible. 

Plan, Plan, Plan! 

Whilst some authors can sit down and write a story without an outline, it can be extremely challenging to commit to writing an entire story. To avoid this, plan a basic outline of your story before going ahead with writing. I would also recommend having a basic description and personality summary of your characters, as well as a world map if you’re worldbuilding. 

Set Deadlines

Setting a deadline can push authors to write, whether it be a specific day to upload a chapter, a daily word goal, or a specific time frame to finish your first draft. An awesome way to do this is through NaNoWriMo1. NaNoWriMo is a free site that encourages writers to set goals for a specific month. The standard goal is to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve done this twice – and won! In fact, my first draft was entirely written through NaNoWriMo. 

Have a Consistent Writing Schedule

Consistency is key. It is important to schedule writing into your schedule, for example, setting a time in which you dedicate to writing that first draft. A person who writes 100 words consistently is more likely to complete a draft than someone who writes 5000 words every now and then. 

I dedicate an hour before I go to sleep to write. This has since allowed me to complete two first drafts. Whilst most people don’t have the luxury of writing an hour each day, as little as 5 minutes a day will still get you one step closer to completing your goal. 

Just Write! 

This might sound difficult, but turning off your inner editor is the most important step to completing your first draft. While editing your work is an important step in becoming an author, a first draft is not the place to do so. Editing will only hold you back!

References: 

  1. NaNoWriMo, https://www.nanowrimo.org

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