How to write your first draft

First of all, I am in no way a professional writer. I have no degree or anything that can back me up except for experience. Which in my opinion, still means something. Here are the top things I would tell myself if I was writing my first draft for the first time: 


You don’t have to make it perfect. Actually you shouldn’t. You are going to change it so many times that it is actually a waste of time to attempt to make it perfect. Literally just get the first draft down. JUST. WRITE. You can’t edit what you don’t have on paper. If you try to make it perfect then you are going to just run in circles and you’re never going to figure it all out. However, if you are to write it all down, then you have something malleable and easier to work with. 

Sometimes you are going to have to skip a lot of scenes, conversations, and A LOT OF PLOTHOLES. And it is okay! The sooner you embrace it, the sooner you are going to get your book out in the world! Not going to lie - Most of my first drafts have little to NO conversations written in them. If I were to look back they would say, (Put conversation here). Even my second draft I still can’t figure out the conversations. It takes a few drafts to learn the characters personalities and even the events that happen in the book enough to even be able to put their personality in a conversation. Usually my second draft I will go through and instead of it saying, (Put conversation here). I will change it to, (Put conversation about parents, past, and emotions here). 


Like I mentioned before, if you try to go over what you wrote, you are just going to move in circles and not get anywhere. Let’s say you wrote the first chapter and then you realize that you want a different chapter to start it out. Rather than deleting and rewriting the first chapter, write a note in the document to rewrite it in the second draft. That way you never have to “Start over” in the first draft. The more times you “start over” the more you are going to feel unsuccessful and feel like you are not getting anywhere with your first draft. 

The second that I had a “Write and move on” mentality was the moment that I finished my first draft in 2.5 months. There were many scenes and even chapters that I would quote (Put fighting scene here) or whatever the case was, and then I would go back through and fix it the second draft. You have to move on, and you can’t look back on your work. 

I’ve heard many people say, “I can’t finish my draft yet, because it is not at 80k words.” NO NO NO!!! My first drafts were 45k-50k words, and even if yours is less WHO CARES!!! A first draft is a first draft in my opinion!! If you wrote the book from start to finish who cares what’s missing on the inside for the first draft. My first book I wrote, “Beyond the Crystal Veil” I finished the first draft at 50k words, and then my final draft finalized at 110k words. The process looked about like this- 1st draft: 50k words, 2nd draft: 70k words, 3rd draft: 85k words, 4th draft: 100k words, and about the 5th or 7th draft I ended up at 110k words. There was no way that I could’ve started it out at 110k words! Especially since a HUGE part of the book came as an idea wayyy later after my first draft was finished. 


I understand that this piece of advice doesn’t work for everyone, and while all of my advice depends on what works for you, this one is especially controversial. 

I personally only write when I feel excited or passionate about my book. I do this so that I can keep writing my fun thing and so that I can continue to enjoy it as my hobby. I know the second I turn it into something stressful and make it add more anxiety to my life I won’t want to do it anymore, which makes me very sad to think about. 

Here’s the secret though, I don’t always feel “excited” to write. So when I don’t, then I don’t write. Sometimes I will work on other things to help my book, like work on plot development, character development, character sheets, the language for my book, post ideas about my book, etc! This way I am still working on my “book” in a productive way. 

Other times when I NEED to write my first draft and get it done, then I will “force” the excitement. This may sound weird, but there are ways to make yourself motivated!!! Here are some things that you can do to “force excitement” into your writing: 

  1. Look at videos of writers that you look up to. AKA, writers that are at where you want to be!!! I used to watch Alex Aster’s videos all the time and watch her journey of writing and then it would get me excited to get my own book published. 
  2. Keep a list of comments that people make about your book! Whether on social media or in person. Booktok and Bookstagram have been a HUGE support in helping me to be motivated and excited to get my book out in the world. 
  3. Look over your notes or your original idea of your book. You may get excited to continue to get it out into the world! 
  4. Create content for your book for social media. Even if you don’t post it, it may motivate you to dive back into your own world that you created! 

While these are all just my advice, I know that they may not work for everyone and that is okay!! Find what works for you! I am sending my love and wish you the best to finishing your first draft!! YOU GOT THIS!!! YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!


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