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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Once you hit it, give yourself permission to be done for the day. This actually makes the writing process semi-enjoyable.
  5. (Because not-so-hidden secret: the writing is the most difficult part of the process for many writers.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. TIP THREE: try to remember that your first draft is going to be terrible. Truly. This is true for every writer, regardless of experience.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. A wise friend of mine said that the real work begins in the second draft, and she is correct.
  14. Also, a page is always going to be a blank page until you actually write it. Obvious but difficult truth.
  15. 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. :)