Now that we’ve planned our story, structured it and organized our chapters, its time to get down to actually writing that priceless first draft. The first draft is where writers go from dreamers to doers. I don’t care if you ever get published, you complete a draft – you wrote a book. Hands down.
As of now, I’ve only completed one first draft, but typing that last sentence was one of the best feelings ever. This post won’t be a lot of professional advice, but it will be a bunch of suggestions from my personal experience.
- Get Excited
You have to care about what you’re writing in order to finish something like a first book draft. Really believe in your story! Chances are you’ve got a pretty unique idea brewing in your head, an idea hundreds would probably love to read. This is your chance to finally realize your dream of becoming an author! It’s literally right there at your fingertips!
2. Stay Inspired
If you’ve come this far in planning your story, it’s safe to assume you’re pretty hype about it. Still, it takes a while for most to write their first draft, so if you ever find your excitement waning, here’s a short list of things that might help reignite it:
- Character inspiration pins are one of my favorite sources of inspiration. They’re so awesome! (If you’d like to see my character board for my first book, you can check it out here.)
- Read in Your Genre
- A lot of advice out there is to read outside of your genre. While that’s good for getting writing tips, learning and broadening your horizons, I think reading inside your genre is a good idea for feeding the flames of inspiration
- Read Writing Articles
- This may sound counter-productive, but reading about other people working on their own projects can be surprisingly motivating!
3. Be Consistent
Writing my first draft took me a long time. It helps to work on it every day, but some of us don’t have time to write 1,000 words a day. If you don’t have that kind of time every day, make a little time each week to work on your book. Even if it’s on the weekends, get to typing! Schedule it in if you have to, but get it done. Books don’t write themselves, you know 😃
4. Keep Your Eye on the End Goal
On those days you get really bogged down in your plot, remember what you’re working toward. You are writing your very own book, after all. You’re producing your own unique story for future readers to devour like we did our favorite books. Remember how fast you read your favorite book or series? One day, people could be reading your book(s) like that. They could be making fan art for your main characters, creating ‘head cannon’ plot lines on Pinterest that your future fans go crazy about, and churning out fan fiction for posterity. They could be printing one of your main quotes on T-shirts you might see people wearing in Walmart one day. If you’ve always wanted to be an author: here’s your chance to do it!
5. Don’t Quit
Most of all, don’t quit. Don’t give up if the plot gets confusing. Don’t throw in the towel if your two lovers don’t have the best chemistry right off. Don’t tap out if your villain doesn’t give you goosebumps immediately, or your hero/heroine doesn’t leap off the page at their first introduction. Just write. Write through plot blunders and character mistakes and forgotten details. Even if you completely forget to add a character for chapters and chapters, just keep writing. Editing is for later. Some of the best advice I’ve come across regarding first drafts is to just write. Don’t edit. Don’t worry. Don’t nitpick or critique your work. Just write. You’ll have countless chances to edit between your rewrite and your third or fourth draft. So just write!
The shelves at libraries and bookstores are stocked with people who started out just like you – with a story line and a goal. Your imagination is priceless, so stay focused and keep working toward that finished draft! It’s worth it, I promise!
Chase those authorly dreams!