After all of your hard work and planning, it’s finally time to write your first draft!
As you may have already figured out, writing a novel isn’t as easy as most people think it is. There’s a lot to consider before you even start writing, but then, THEN you have to sit down and actually put all of those characters, plot elements, and twists together in a coherent, engaging, satisfying story, all while maintaining your current work, family, and social schedule.
If you’re not feeling a little overwhelmed, congratulations! You’re ahead of most authors. If, however, you’re wondering what you got yourself into, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Writing a novel isn’t easy but it can be done!
Here are some tips to help you get that first draft out of your head and onto the page:
- Make it a priority. If you’re plan is to write whenever you can find time, you’ll never finish. Something will always come up that will get in your way. Instead of hoping to find time, make time – put it on your calendar and stick to it.
- Set achievable goals. If you only have 30 minutes a day to write, don’t expect to write 5,000 a day. Figure out how many words you can realistically write in that amount of time, then do it. If you set your goal too high, you’ll become frustrated and quit when you can’t meet your goal. If you set it too low, you’ll make slow progress. Be reasonable but push yourself.
- Set goals that work for your schedule. Do you work 12-hour days three days a week? Then daily word counts might not work for you because you won’t have the time or energy to write on those long days. Instead, set a weekly word count goal.
- Find your motivator. Are you a fitness buff? Don’t let yourself jog until after you finish writing. Dying to see the next Avengers movie? Not until you meet your weekly work count.
- Write. Don’t edit, just write. You’ll have time to edit later. For now, your goal is to get that first draft written. If you think of something that you want to change, make yourself a note and go back to it after you’ve finished the first draft.
- Rest. Athletes don’t train seven days a week, and writers should write that often either. Some people might disagree with me on this one but I’m a firm believer in the sanctity of rest. That doesn’t mean you won’t be thinking about your story or working out plot details in your head. It does mean you get away from your computer and do something else. Go shopping or hiking. Watch a movie or play with Legos. Bake a chocolate soufflé. Just make sure to give yourself a chance to rest and recharge so you’re ready to go when you get back to your desk.
That’s it! There’s not much else to it. Now stop reading and start writing!
What keeps you in the writing chair? Or what do you struggle with – how can I help?