This the fourth post in a series on my writing process. You can see the previous posts by clicking on the links below.

Part 1 - Introductions
Part 2 - Ideas
Part 3 - Outlining

Ok. So the outline is done. Now, it’s time for the fun part, right? I mean the creative process of the first draft is what writers live for. Well, yes and no. Although I enjoy the first draft, it is surprisingly not my favorite part of the process. The second draft is but I’ll get to that in a later post.

For me, the problem with a first draft is that I’m usually second guessing myself an awful lot as I go along and for some reason my brain struggles to concentrate on what is currently happening without looking back or ahead. Another problem I had early on while writing is I kept revising every sentence or paragraph to death. So much so, that I would spend several hours writing and then only have a couple hundred words to show for it.

Now, I generally average 800-1200 words an hour when writing new material, sometimes higher. So, what changed? I listened to a podcast by Kevin J. Anderson. On it, he gave a piece of writing advice I’ve taken to heart. His advice on a first draft is “Dare to be Bad.” What he meant is that you just need to write, and get the story out. You can always go back and fix things here and polish things there. But, if you never make it out of the first chapter, you’ve done nothing.

Now, I don’t try to suck, but I no longer agonize over every word like I did before…at least not at this stage. This change has helped me focus and more importantly my daily word count has increased dramatically. When writing new material now, I try to shoot for 1200-2000 words a day at a minimum. (On a side note, you’d be surprised that when you do work on that second draft, things are nowhere near as bad as you thought they were.)

Does this mean I never stop and edit? No. On occasion, if something in the plot is glaringly off and I think it will affect the story later on, I’ll make the change to the story early for peace of mind. The important thing is that I don’t stress over wording.

The first draft of any story I write is for me only. So, who cares if it sucks? It’s the final draft that truly matters!


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