Writing the first draft of this specific project taught me a LOT, and I wanted to share those things in a blog post because while some lessons might be the same, many will also be different.
1. Outlining is a LONG, Hard Process
I always knew outlining was a process obviously, and I knew it took time and motivation, however I realized spending about a month and a half of taking some time each day to work on it, was not enough. I am still adding and changing things to my outline for draft two. I am still having to research things to fill the holes that I should have filled in my outline, but haven’t. Make sure you determine your world, its rules, everyday life, your characters goals and motivation, magic system (if there is one) and anything else you can think of. My problem is that I will outline and then think I researched and wrote out every important thing for my story, but then realize I was missing so many key points later on. I recommend searching outlining tips or outlining worksheets online to help you gather all the main and minor ideas you need to have.
2. Just Because Your First Draft Sucks, Doesn’t Mean It’s Bad
Yeah, your first draft 100% sucks. Words are being thrown left and right, some with meaning some without, but that is okay. Just because you feel as if you word vomited about seventy thousand words onto a document, doesn’t mean the essence of the story is bad. Nobody is a great first writer, trust me. The books we read required dozens and dozens of revisions and edits from not only the author but their editor too. You can’t expect to pump out a clean first draft in one go because that it is the craft of writing. Every time you work on it, it gets a bit cleaner, and slowly, you polish it enough to see that the story hidden behind all those words was never that bad in the first place.
3. Read The Anatomy of Story by John Truby
Honestly, this book has been my savior when it comes to trying to finish outlining my story for draft three. It has everything you ever need to know and more, and will help you see storytelling in a different way. You take away so many valuable tips, tricks, and ideas from this book, and I cannot recommend it enough. I wouldn’t recommend investing in many writing craft books, but this is one of them! Little tip though, I would recommend not using it for first drafts but just knowing you will be using it for future draft will take some stress off, trust me.
4. Focusing on Hours Spent Writing Is More Beneficial Than “Words Written”
I promise you that this is SUPER important. You will get so much more done if you aim to spend an hour or maybe even two hours writing each day, instead of focusing on that pesty little word count tracker at the bottom of your page. I do three thirty minute sprints throughout the morning each day, and all I focus on is writing for that entire thirty minutes, or even writing a bit past. There has only been one or two times I have not reached 1000 words each half hour writing sprint, but other than that, this method has worked wonders for me.
5. Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo Are Excellent Times to Start Your First Draft
Seriously though, if you happen to be close to Camp NaNoWriMo (an online writing event where you try to write as much as you can in one month – takes place April + July of every year) or NaNoWriMo (an online writing event where you try to write 50,000 words in one month – every Novemeber), then I highly recommend signing up and participating. NaNoWriMo motivates you because for once, it is not only you working on a project, but thousands of people across the world. Every one is trying to get all the words down, and it is really motivating to see how much progress you will make by the end of it! I have participated in Camp NaNo and NaNo quite a few times, and started my first draft for my WIP during Camp NaNo back in April. I reached my 50,000 words and kept going!
Those are five things I learned from draft one, and I hope you enjoyed! Currently, we are on day three of the Biannual Bibliothon, so make sure to check out ALL the blog posts I have done for it so far!
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