My Three Best Tips to Aspiring Writers On Finishing a Draft
I've had this conversation recently with a few aspiring writers, so I thought I'd share my thoughts in case anyone finds them helpful.
- •TIP ONE: The biggest game-changer is setting a daily word count. Make this an easily attainable goal so you can feel good about your progress.
- •This takes the ms from a huge, looming project to just a daily goal that eventually stacks up like bricks. After a few months, you have a house.
- •I, personally, aim for 1-2k, depending on where I am in the deadline process, but whatever you choose is fine. It's yours. 500. Whatever.
- •Once you hit it, give yourself permission to be done for the day. This actually makes the writing process semi-enjoyable.
- •(Because not-so-hidden secret: the writing is the most difficult part of the process for many writers.)
- •TIP TWO: write first thing when you have free time. For me, this is first thing in the morning. For others, maybe it's the first minute you get home.
- •Instead of taking that hour to surf gossip on the web, I write. The gossip is still there at 9AM. If I don't, my excuses pile up.
- •And then I dread my work all day. By getting it out of the way asap, I free myself up for my day and often return to the ms later.
- •I know many people have other jobs, so maybe it's as soon as you get home. Think about your scenes on the drive, write asap at home.
- •TIP THREE: try to remember that your first draft is going to be terrible. Truly. This is true for every writer, regardless of experience.
- •I just filed my 7th book, and I deleted 75% of my first draft, and then 75% of my second. It's much more important to get words on the page than to obsess about each one.
- •If you aim for perfection on the first draft, you'll be paralyzed and won't get past the first act. IMO, the revision process matters more.
- •A wise friend of mine said that the real work begins in the second draft, and she is correct.
- •Also, a page is always going to be a blank page until you actually write it. Obvious but difficult truth.
- •So those are a few tips on the craft of actually writing a manuscript. I have plenty more. If anyone has questions, feel free to ask. :)