Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why Your First Draft Should Absolutely Suck

So. As you probably noticed, I didn't post anything last week. That was because I was constantly on the go with classes, homework, work, hangouts with friends, birthday parties, and a whooole lot of iced hazelnut lattes.
But thankfully, tomorrow is my last class of the semester! WHOO! I will finally have a break to focus on writing! And... working. Yay.
Anyway, now that I'll have some extra time for writing, I'm going to be majorly focusing on editing my finished books as well as writing the first draft of my fantasy book (which still very much needs a title. Bleh.)
Like I've said before, I've had the idea for my fantasy book brewing in my mind for years. Now, I am officially on chapter four! Know what that means?
This is the longest it has ever taken me to write a first draft. Ever.
Okay, so I've only written two books. But still! It took me just about six months to finish the first draft of Unperfected and four to finish Altered. I've been seriously working on this fantasy book since the end of December/beginning of January, and I am only on chapter four.
For me, this is extremely unusual. Usually I fly through my first drafts and write thousands of words a day. Now I'm lucky if I get more than a hundred in a week.
That being said, I realized something as I read through those four measly chapters the other day--something that I'm hoping will help me speed up and write this first draft fast. Maybe you're like me and have suddenly found yourself writing at a very, very, very slow pace. Or maybe your pace is slow all the time, and you want to speed it up. Or maybe you write drafts at a slow pace and you really like it. In that case, thank you for reading this far because this post will be no help to you at all. Moving on!

#1. You finish fast. If you focus your attention on getting the basics of your story down on paper rather than making every single sentence perfect, you'll find the pages flying by. As I wrote a chapter for my fantasy story the other day, I focused on getting down what I wanted to say. I ignored the parts that I knew could be rewritten and wrote down whatever came to mind first. In the end, I had written the whole chapter in about an hour, and after letting it sit for a day or two I reread it and learned that it really wasn't that bad.
#2. You learn to edit later. This has always been such a struggle for me, but now that I'm allowing my first draft to suck, it's become a lot easier to ignore the temptation. Editing while you write can slow you down as well as frustrate you, especially if you're anything like me.
#3. You learn to edit better. Once you're finished with your imperfect first draft, you get to go over it multiple times and transform it into something great. Editing, like writing, is one of those skills that gets better with practice. So the more you have to edit, the better at editing you'll get.
#4. You learn to push yourself. This is especially true if you tend to write at a slow pace or edit a lot while you're writing. When you push yourself to try something different, such as allowing your first draft to suck, you're pushing yourself as a writer. That means you'll most likely learn something about yourself or your writing style that may benefit you in the future.
#5. You grow as a writer. Allowing your first draft to suck is amazing because it has so many benefits you wouldn't expect. It lets you relax and enjoy writing rather than worrying about publication or how other people will react to your words. It's a great way for you to get the chance to write something for yourself, which I think every writer needs to do every so often.

I'm sure there are many other benefits to allowing your first draft to suck, but these five are at least what I've seen from personal experience. Hopefully now that my semester is coming to a close, I'll be able to really focus and finish this first draft fast!

For more info about my fantasy book (or any of my other WIP's) you can check out my pinterest boards or send me a message!

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8

9 comments:

  1. "after letting it sit for a day or two I reread it and learned that it really wasn't that bad."

    This is what I've been discovering lately haha. While I'm writing it feels so awful, but it's never as bad as I thought when I go back.

    I'm in the process of changing my writing tactics and not focusing on being such a perfectionist in the first draft. I'm trying to drill it into my head to just view the rough draft as one giant thing of outlines/notes and just get it out. It's a constant internal battle lol.

    Kaitlin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally get it, lol. It's such a difficult thing to do, but once you accept that a first draft is just the basic outline of the story and doesn't need to be perfect, writing seems to become so much easier. Good luck with your draft! :)

      Delete
  2. Good points, especially the one about thinking of your end audience as you write your first draft. Doing that will quickly take me out of my creative zone.

    Being in a creative zone is an amazing feeling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it really is! I've had the chance to get in a zone a few times lately, and it really is the best feeling. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Delete
  3. I second the first point, and the second, and the fourth. Why don't we just say that I'm a fan of all five points, and call it a day?

    This post is timely, considering that I'm in a first draft stage right now. I hear you on the "thousands down to hundreds" word count problem. I'm still trying to learn how to quiet the inner editor, but writing during the "o' dark thirty" hours of the morning seems to help.

    I'm too tired to notice if I'm even forming cohesive sentences!

    --Abby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, I have definitely been there! Sometimes I'll find myself writing at 2 AM and think my work is a masterpiece, and then I'll reread it the next morning and realize it's actually a mess. :)

      Delete
  4. I remember trying to write a story and I've written like sixty pages and nothing actually happened throughout the book. All it was is my characters goofing off as they wait for stuff to happen -_-. I'm writing a new one now and I'll keep it in mind while trying not to worry about being a perfectionist and edit stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Something that helps for me is writing as soon as I wake up. It's like a semi-conscious state or whatever and you still get to sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really needed this. I have gotten so slow in writing because I obsession about it being perfect the first time round.

    ReplyDelete