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Mar
1
2016

Taking a Pledge To Write a Crappy First Draft -- by Yawatta Hosby

Most experienced and beginner writers participated in NaNo this year. It's a fun challenge of creating a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. For those that are busy during that time of year, Camp NaNo is also an option.

The tip I'm going to share can apply to NaNo or anytime you write a first draft:

IT'S OKAY TO WRITE A CRAPPY FIRST DRAFT.

The whole point of writing is to get your thoughts on paper or your laptop. Being old school, I always jot my stories in notebooks because they're easy to carry and you never know when you'll find inspiration. After I'm finished, then I type my words into a Microsoft Word document or Google Doc, depending on if it's a short story or novella.

I'm asking you to take a pledge with me:

  • Turn off your inner-editor
  • Don't stress yourself, attempting to make each chapter perfect on the first try
  • Get all your zany ideas on paper or your laptop, no questions asked
  • In the famous words of Stephen King "don't write in fear"

Why is it okay to write a crappy first draft?

BECAUSE, OF COURSE, YOU'LL REVISE LATER.

The same writers who participated in NaNo are more than likely taking a few months to revise their stories. Taking out the info dumps. Taking out the excessive backgrounds of their characters. Checking grammar and varying sentence structure. Adding creative metaphors. Strengthing character's voice. You get the idea.

Nothing is perfect on the first try. Life would be boring if that was true. It's exciting going through multiple drafts until you're satisfied with your story. It's a huge accomplishment. No matter what--be proud to call yourself a writer.

Happy Writing!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Posted by Yawatta Hosby 1 Mar 2016 at 02:54
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Responses to this blog

Christelle 1 Mar 2016 at 16:23  
Thanks Yawatta for this Blog I was kinda stressing about my other story drafts and putting it on critique circle after the first chapter was submitted and critiqued. And the were alot mistakes that I've made there. When I first wrote the story I didn't thought about the technical stuff I just wanted to putt it to paper and let take a life of its own and doing the editing later on. Since I'm a perfectionist I worry about a lot of things but your blog gave me the encouragement to keep on writing without fear.
Pmartissm 2 Mar 2016 at 18:31  
Yawatta
I've taken the same approach to my WIP, not a NaNo submission, just my WIP which I'm hoping will eventually be about 85K long and readable and interesting to a larger audience..

I have all my ideas down, several scenes, characters (these still need a lot of work) and basic outline. Now I can sit back and look carefully at the plot structure, decide if I really need bits of all 98,567 words and take out bits that could actually become a different story or two. So far I've rewritten the beginning 8 times.

It's improving - but if I hadn't just sat down and started writing I wouldn't have all these ideas pinned down.

We learn by mistakes. so first drafts (even 8th drafts) are a learning experience.

Don't be afraid to learn, and fail, or you will never improve.
Travlgbard 4 Mar 2016 at 16:48  
We are on the same wavelength. My recent blog is an inspirational twist on the topic, entitled, This Is Not Your Final Draft, at www.DanyeleRead.com/what-sup.html
Wmnawn 6 Mar 2016 at 17:49  
I find that I only think I know the underlying story until I get to know my characters. The first draft is the long version because I give my characters free reign.
Wmnawn 6 Mar 2016 at 17:49  
I find that I only think I know the underlying story until I get to know my characters. The first draft is the long version because I give my characters free reign.
Abwhite12 7 Mar 2016 at 19:34  
I am Soooo Glad you said that, Yawatta! I've been writing my book in fear! The first chapter is not as great on paper as it is in my head, so I've been stuck, for like a year. Geesh, what a concept, to write the whole thing down! I'm so excited to start FINISHING my book! Thanks for that.
Lien 10 Mar 2016 at 11:29  
Thanks for telling me that! I always want my first draft to be "perfect", but I think I'll start editing after I've written everything down.
Dalis 31 Mar 2016 at 13:52  
Sometimes I read back over what I wrote and just want to delete the whole thing. Nice to know I'm not the only one. Of course I'm not. Isn't writing such a beautiful thing? (hint to sarcasm)
Echofoxtro 21 May 2016 at 02:10  
Aha! I've been practicing this for years! (Unintentionally, of course). This is especially true for 'shoot-from-the-hip' writers, who can put thoughts on the page with minimal planning. The downside is the amount of work it takes to clean it up later.

Great blog

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