First Drafts Are for Getting It Down, Not Getting It "Right"
The hardest part about writing the first draft... is writing the first draft.
For Rogue Princess, I wrote the first three chapters in a week, and then it stalled. For almost a year.
But Tianna and Aidan were never far from my thoughts, so when I saw the next Swoon Reads deadline was coming up, I rolled up my sleeves, determined to write something every day.
Easier said than done, but I found a few tricks along the way that helped get those words down.
I started in June 2017 and finished two weeks before the September deadline. It was unpolished, but I hoped the heart of the story would resonate with readers.
And now (after massive revisions) it’s going to be published!
So if you have characters you can’t stop thinking about or want to write a little faster, here are a few tips that helped me get the story out of my head and onto paper (or rather lap top screen).
1.) Writing every day creates a habit of—you guessed it—writing every day. And this doesn’t have to be part of your novel, it could be a journal entry or even a one sentence story on Twitter.
2.) Writing in short bursts was more productive than longer times in front of the computer. Being committed to that one hour meant I only wrote for that hour. It's amazing how much you can get down when you DON'T check social media.
3.) Write the chapter ending first, preferably a nice cliffhanger or a shocking reveal. I found it much easier to complete the scene if I knew where my characters were supposed to end up.
4.) Don't look at the word count until you've finished your writing sprint. Word count is a helpful measure, but we can sometimes become obsessed with it, taking our energy and focus off the scene.
5.) Write a few lines of the following chapter so you have a spring board for the next session.
6.) Put fresh air and exercise in between your writing time. Yes, get back to your life, recharge and return to your novel the next day refreshed.
7.) Before I started my writing sessions, I'd post about it on Twitter, then return when I'd finished and comment on my stats. It wasn't always the word count, sometimes it would deal with what music I was writing to or a plot hole I'd uncovered or a character I had to kill. Regardless, it made me more accountable for the time frame, plus it helped me connect with other writers and in turn I was there to help cheer them on too.
8.) If you're stuck in a scene, add food and some weather. Seriously, it was a great way to jump start some of my chapters.
I hope these tips are useful for your own writing process. And remember, the first draft isn’t about getting it right, it’s about getting it on paper.
Rogue Princess goes on sale January 21! Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf!