Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 Tips for Attacking First Drafts

10. There can never be enough coffee.

9. Forgive the bad writing, just write. Bad can be fixed.

8. Set a daily goal. Remember that 500 words is a worthy achievement.

7. Food is good. Crumbs in your keyboard are bad. Constant vigilance is vital.

6. Read your dialogue out loud. Seriously.

5. See #10. Bathroom breaks will be necessary.

4. You don't need to know every step in your plot, but a rough map can save your sanity.

3. Of course sanity can be a relative term.

2. There are days when you will write badly. Sadly (for me) these days are in the majority.

1. Every word you write is one word closer to 'the end'. Just. Keep.Writing.


  1. Elspeth - I think #1 is the most important point. Just keep writing. Even if all you accomplish in a given day is one sentence, it's writing. I think it's that discipline of writing every day that helps you stay limber and achieve your goals. Oh, and what about those medicinal doses of dark chocolate? ;-).

  2. Exactly! Those are very important. Now I need more coffee. I love reading my dialogue aloud.

  3. I hate reading my work out loud, but it sure can help. So can printing it out in a different font to fool your eye into thinking you haven't seen it before (a kazillion times).

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  4. AiCP; Thanks!

    Margot; It sounds so simple, but it really isn't is it? And yes, dark chocolate should always be close by.

    Clarissa; I find hearing it helps me with the rhythms.

    Terry; I've never tried the font trick - I'll give it a whirl sometime!

  5. Good advice for attacking second, third, and fourth drafts, too!

  6. Elisa; Or one hundredth...but thanks!

  7. I really like the philosophy of # 7.

    But when it comes to # 8, there are days when 100 words will have to do.

  8. I takes so long one word at a time. :[
    Great post as always!

  9. Mary; One word is better than no words. Thanks for letting me know you liked the post!

  10. Of course number one is the most important but number seven is worth mentioning. My 'a' key sticks and according to him who knows about such things it's because of melted chocolate and toast crumbs. Ah, but it was worth it :)

  11. Love the post, Elspeth. it's all too true - alas! Just keep going is the order of the day for me...

  12. I agree, Elspeth, the important thing it to write. What I find is after it sits sometimes you have enough distance and the bad writing is not quite as bad as you thought.

  13. Sarah; I'm sure it was! This is the price we pay.

    Pat; Thanks so much for letting me know you liked the post.

    Lauri; Isn't that wonderful when it happens? It's such a relief.

  14. "Forgive the bad writing, just write. Bad can be fixed."

    Oh if people can just read my first drafts, they are really awful!! Then I get to cut, rephrase, edit, add/delete some words and voila! :)


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