I’m currently in the process of publishing my second novel, which I firmly believe to be some of my best work.
Was it completed after my first draft? Of course not.
My second? Nope.
Third? Try again.
Yes, you’ve guessed it. I have written this novel completely over five times.
Which, truly, isn’t a lot compared to some of the numbers I’ve seen. However, I’ve come across people and articles that swear by the fact that they can edit their first draft a couple of times over and be done with it. And for many people, this works. But I’m here to teach you about the art of doing things again.
The First Draft
This doesn’t just apply to novels. Novels and short stories are where I use this technique the most, but that’s not to say that I don’t use it in other places like here on Medium.
The first draft is best written in three ways:
- Without stopping
- Without editing
- Without remorse
This doesn’t mean to write your first draft in one go if you’re working on a lengthier piece. This means that you write your first draft in one piece. You get down every idea you have, every piece of the puzzle you can think of, and you never take a two-month break while you “stop to think of new ideas” mid-page.
The first draft is meant to be a place solely for the big picture. Get down what you want to say, and keep it there. Write what you envisioned, and write what you even think you want on the page.
This one speaks for itself. A first draft should be messy, chaotic, and at times, incomprehensible. If you knock it out of the park with your first swing, great. But nine times out ten that won’t happen.
If you’re like me, the minute you start making even the slightest edits before you’re finished, then the end of your work will never make it to the page. By not editing in your first draft, you save yourself time as well as avoiding unproductive perfectionism…