Most first drafts suck. They just do and there’s nothing you can do about it. This may seem like a scary, depressing thing to say, but actually, it’s empowering. Knowing that your first draft won’t be perfect, heck that it won’t even be half good is very liberating, It allows you to really knuckle down and just get words on the page.
Now that you know that, you should also know that there’s literally nothing you should worry about apart from getting those precious words on the page.
But, most writers do worry; they worry a lot and it stops them from getting those words down and finishing the all-important first draft.
That’s why I’ve put together a brief list of things it is pointless worrying about at the first draft stage. I hope they help you to get on and get writing.
When you’re writing a first draft, it’s more important to concentrate on writing a really good story that has lots of great twists and turns, and interesting characters than it is to focus on the quality of your writing.
The thing about writing is that it can always be polished by you, or an editor when the time is right, but that can only happen if you actually produce it in the first place.
So, forget about writing perfect prose for now, and focus on the story because that’s what’s most important.
Yes, if you want to be a great writer, it pays to know your semicolons from your em dashes, but does it really matter in your first draft? No, it does not! No one but you is going to see that first manuscript, so you don’t need to keep interrupting your writing flow to check you’ve put that colon in the right place or spelled that name the right way. Again, you can do all that once the manuscript is complete and you’re on to a later draft. Focusing too hard on grammar at this stage will only hold you back, so don’t!
Books that have detailed descriptions that totally transport you to the world they’re based in and allow you to imagine the characters perfectly are great, but your first draft isn’t the place to put these kinds of details in. Sure, if it’s all flowing out of you at the moment, then crack on and add those stunning descriptions, but if you aren’t feeling them, forget about them for now and focus on the story. It’s always possible to go back and add meat onto the bones in later drafts and right now you should not be agonizing over the best way to describe a tree or how best to convey that your heroine is a classic beauty –
You may be fighting me on one or more of these, but seriously, why? It’s fine if you can focus on them and still remain in the flow of writing, but if they hold you back and interrupt your creativity even a little, stop worrying about them until your first draft is finished, and it will be finished much faster if you do!
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