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A lot of writers give up on their dreams before reaching the end of the first page.
Like any artist, they likely had a vision in their head for how they wanted their manuscript to read and the first draft simply wasn’t cutting it.
They toss the baby out with the bathwater and end up never writing that novel. It’s a sad truth of the writing rule.
I want to tell you a liberating secret though….
All first drafts are garbage.
Should I say it louder for the people in the back? Unless you are a magical unicorn with a pencil for a horn your first draft is going to suck.
All of mine do.
No matter the size of the piece, whether or not it’s a poem, a short story, an article or my novel it all sucks… or rather it can all be improved.
My secret? I write like no one is reading, because… and here is another secret, no one is reading. Not yet anyway.
Don’t write for your reader.
I’ve given the advice to write for your ideal reader many times, but I don’t write my first drafts for them.
I write my first draft for myself.
Think of it like an incredibly detailed note-taking system.
I’ve fully fleshed out my ideas, they are on the page but they aren’t pretty yet.
This draft is for my eyes only, once I’ve built out my ideas I edit with my reader in mind.
I write for myself.
If you write for a reader you might find yourself paralysed by the pressure of your words being seen. You’ll then want to find the perfect words and perfect is impossible on the first try.
Instead, focus on writing the words that will be helpful to you later.
Put down a good skeleton, flesh it out as much as you think will be helpful but remember you will be adding in details later on. We all draft to different extents, my first draft is usually half the word count of my final draft.
For me the first draft is simply a collection of ideas that should be jammed onto the page, the next draft is when I really smooth out the manuscript.
Please make sure that you aren’t tripping yourself up by trying to achieve perfection on the first try.
You cannot edit words that you haven’t written down, so writing them down is the first step.
As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf!