5. Stop with the excuses
We are all busy, we all have responsibilities, we all have personal lives and civic obligations. All of us are parents, children, spouses, pet owners, soccer coaches, accountants, art teachers, and a plethora of other things. You make the decision to sit down and write, you also make the decision to not. It’s no one else but you. Sometimes other things come up that are more important but that is part of life. Every single day we have to make decisions about what is important so if you want writing that first draft to be important you have to bump it up the list and DO IT.
4. Know your Characters
Not all writers are outliners but knowing your characters as well as you know your siblings will help that first draft to come out faster and cleaner. Characters drive stories (or at least in the ones I like to read) so the more real your characters are to you the more real they will come across in your first draft, which means less fixing during the editing stage.
3. Love your premise
If you don’t love your story, never mind that others won’t love it either, it won’t get written. Write what you love, don’t force it. That is not to say it will be easy, or you won’t have to work at it, but the hard work an effort should go into the words you use to tell your story and bring your characters to life, not into coming up with ‘the next big thing’ story.
2. Plan your scenes
Or at least THINK about what you are going to write before you write it. If you are a planner or outliner, this will be easy and you’ve probably already done it. BUT if you are an outliner do you ever read through your outline as you write? I’m a bit of a Pantser, but before every writing session I spend 10 to 15 minutes thinking about what my goal is for that session, how many words I want to write and the major plot points that will happen in the coming scenes. I always skim the last 5 pages I wrote as well before I start writing, but that’s just me. Find something that works for you to keep it all straight in your head.
1. Kick out the editor
Don’t kill her or get rid of her completely because she will become your absolute ‘bestie’ in a few weeks but DO appease her with some chocolate and crossword puzzles to keep her out of your hair during the first draft. I’m not saying to write like a kindergartener and ignore the basic grammar and spelling that SHOULD be ingrained into you but leave the editing until later. Your words will still be there when the story is finished and the world won’t implode if you don’t fix that plot hole RIGHT NOW! The world also won’t end if your first draft isn’t perfect… I promise!
And just because, a bonus tip about writing a first draft:
STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF, JUST WRITE THE DAMN THING AND WORRY ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE LATER.