Finishing your first draft is incredibly hard. Not only do you actually have to put the work in, you also need to be able to let go of your book and say: yes, now the first draft is ready!
Here are five tips to make your life – and finishing your first draft, a bit easier.
Having a plot is a very useful tool. Not only will it help you to pick up where you left much easier, it will also give your book an overall direction.
I know that some people would rather have their characters tell them wehre the story should go, but in the end, this is just a set-up for mistakes, too lengthy scenes and stories with a slow and boring pace.
When you want to finish your first draft, there needs to be some kind of route map to follow. A written-out plot can help you with this. It does not matter how detailed you go, as long as there is an overall direction for you and your story to take.
You can read more about plots here.
- Do not force yourself to write a certain scene or part
Forcing yourself to write can have the opposite effect. You might get writer’s block.
And if you then – finally, get yourself to put something down on paper, the issue might be that you actually hate the part you have just written. This will not help you or your story advance.
Instead, write the parts you feel like writing. When you are happy, you might be able to write a happy part or when you are sad, you might want to write about something more negative. Because you are now using a plot, it will be easy to pick up different parts – in a non-linear way, and write the scenes you feel like writing. Your story will come together like a puzzle.
Now, it might be that in hindsight, the part did not fit your story as well as you might have thought at the moment. This is okay, just put it into a word document and save it for later. Maybe you can reuse it for another story, book or even part of the series.
- Use deadlines
Are you a giant procrastinator like me? Than working with deadlines might be a good way forward for you. Setting deadlines will give you a sense of urgency, it will help you to concentrate on the writing, and you generally feel as if you have done a lot of work in a relatively small amount of time.
- Make a habit out of writing
Habits are powerful things. It is basically tricking your mind into sitting down and writing on your story before you know what you are doing, before your mind can say “Hey dude, I have no idea what to write.”
I actually talk about this in length in my book on how to increase your productivity.
Don’t be a perfectionist. This is only your very first draft so it is natural for there to be mistakes and imperfections. You will have a complete second and third draft to worry about getting it right. All you need to think about now is that you need to get the story down on paper. Editing happens after the first draft and there is nothing as bad for a writer than editing during your first draft.
If you are looking in information on how to edit your novel, you can find a video on this topic