Last week we talked about how there’s still time to fulfil your New Year’s resolution of writing a novel and I gave you some hints to get started. Well, today I’m going to share my top 3 tips for finishing that first draft because now you’ve got an idea for your story, you actually need to start writing it!
It won’t be perfect!
A first draft is never perfect. Sometimes, it’s even downright terrible. But that’s what first drafts are for! First drafts are you telling yourself the story so you get a feel for who the characters really are, what plot ideas will and won’t work, and ultimately, how you want the story to end.
It’s really easy to beat ourselves up because it doesn’t sound like a finished novel we’d pull from a bookshelf, but that’s because it isn’t! No book has ever been written perfectly, the first time. So take the pressure of yourself and accept it’s going to be a pile of rubbish!
Don’t edit as you go!
Now, this is a little bit controversial because I know some authors who do this and others that don’t. My advice, as always, is to find your own process but for the sake of this first draft, for the sake of the novel you promised you’d write and are running out of time to get done, DON’T EDIT AS YOU GO!
Honestly, it will only slow you down and right now, you should be concentrating on getting the bare bones of your story down. You don’t need to tinker with sentences or word choice at this stage. And if, for instance, you decide halfway through to add a new character who should have been there at the start, simply make a note and come back to it in the next stage.
Speed is of the essence.
Forget about the word count!
Word counts are intimidating. Whether daily, monthly or that scary overall total of approx. 70k, word counts are a terrifying thing. They put pressure on us and pressure can destroy our creativity, sap our motivation and makes us feel rubbish.
Try as much as you can to ignore it and concentrate on each writing opportunity as it comes. Believe me, every word adds up and you’ll be there before you know it!
Good luck with your first drafts everyone! I’ll be back in a week or two with some more tips to keep you going through the muddy middle and on towards the finish line! Until then, make sure you sign up to my mailing list to receive my monthly newsletter and a FREE short story!