|Photo credit: re_birf|
The posts that get tumblr-happy are often craft posts. And the comments and tags, I’ve noticed, often include writers stressing out about trying to nail all of the writing tidbit dos and don’ts while drafting.
Except here’s the thing: with the exception of writing tips specifically geared for first drafting, most are not meant to be tackled while first drafting.
Things you should be focusing on while first drafting:
- Getting the story written.
- See #1
Things you don’t need to worry about while first drafting:
- Getting your opening right.
- Getting your middle right.
- Getting your ending right.
- Getting your characters right.
- Getting the worldbuilding right.
- Getting the sentence-level writing right.
- Getting the pacing right.
- Getting anything perfect the first time.
The truth is, the first draft is for you, the author. It’s about getting the story out and creating the clay that you can later shape into an awesome book. It’s about getting a feel for the story and the characters and working out the progression of the plot. It’s about putting down some words so that you have something to revise later.
It’s not about getting anything right the first time.
I’ve been finding, as of late, the more I learn about the revisions, the more I’ve gotten comfortable with making huge changes. And the more I’ve gotten comfortable with making huge changes, the more I’ve loved the end result. And the more I’ve loved the end result after making tons of changes and doing revision round after revision round, the more I’ve realized that old adage “writing is rewriting” is painfully true.
But it also takes a ton of pressure off the first draft. Because your sentences can suck and your pacing can be messed up and your plot can be messy and your characters can be not quite right and it’s okay. It’s all okay. It’s okay if you have blanks and cities and characters with no names or personalities. It’s okay if your book sags in the middle and if you use a terrible, clichéd prologue. You do whatever you need to do to get that story down and don’t worry for one second about making it right while first drafting.
Take the pressure off when you’re first drafting. Don’t worry about the work to come.
Just get the story written.
What do you think? Is getting the story right the first time important?
"The truth is, the first draft is for you, the author." (Click to tweet)
Writer @Ava_Jae says the first draft is "not about getting anything right the first time." What do you think? (Click to tweet)