I mentioned in my ‘scope last week that the best part about writing is that it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. Unlike life, you get many chances to do things over and over until you get them just right.
God bless the drafting process!
I wanted to talk to you guys a bit more about that this week. So here are . . .
1. First drafts are for playing
Because do-overs are such a big part of the writing process, first drafts can be totally no pressure situations. Like the great Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Done is better than good.” That means your first draft doesn’t even have to be good, forget about perfect!
Take this opportunity to push the bounds of your creativity. Write some seriously cheesy sentences, create some truly fantastical scenarios, throw your characters into the emotional deep end.
I’ve found, when it come to editing, reigning things in is easier than pulling more out. So GO FOR IT!
2. You become a better writer by practicing
No writing is truly wasted. There is something to be learned from every unfinished story or loosely defined character arc.
The drafting process is an opportunity to challenge yourself. Try writing a scene in a POV you’ve never attempted. Try writing a chapter in just dialogue! Any style or voice that has ever struck your fancy, give it a go. That’s really the only way to discover what works best, for you as a writer and for your current project.
3. You learn more about your characters and the story the more time you spend with them
You’re not wasting your time writing and rewriting your story. Just like I don’t believe any writing is truly wasted, drafting teaches you more about the world you’re creating every time you do it.
Think about your best friend, for instance. Did you learn everything you needed to know, or that you know now, about them the first time you spoke? I doubt it! Your characters are your newest friends. Spend some time with them, as much time as you need. The more you do, the more real they become to you and to your readers.
4. You don’t have to revise in a vacuum
Getting feedback as you revise can be extremely helpful. Whether it’s a coach or professional editor, a full on critique group, or just your closest writing buddy, once you’ve written AT LEAST one full draft, showing someone else your work can lead to some serious breakthroughs.
That thing you thought you explained beautifully might not connect in a brain that works differently from yours. Literally the only way to find that out is to have someone with not your brain read the thing.
Basically, no one comes out of the drafting process a worse writer. So embrace it!
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