A Disciplined First Draft

Like many writers, I am my own harshest critic. Because of this, my novel’s first draft has been a slow, arduous process and I’m only roughly one-third of the way through.

Since my last writing post, I have pushed my word count over 34,000, but I still get stuck analyzing every word, revisiting, revising, and not just letting the words flow. I am reading several books on writing at the moment and they all share the same message that with first drafts, you should just keep writing and not interrupt the creative process by self-editing and laboring over every single word. Unfortunately, it goes against my inner-critic nature to approach writing this way.

My first draft difficulty is compounded by the fact that I cannot keep a regular writing schedule due to constant daily commitments. As such, I often have to revisit text with each new sitting, instead of just picking up right where I left off, thus making me prone to self-editing even further.

But, hope is not lost fortunately. I am still making progress (though not as much as I would like). I have been learning a lot about routinely writing and publishing small chunks of content through blogging, as well as investing time into learning as much about the fiction writing craft as I can manage. I have found that small things such as listening to audio books while working on household chores has helped keep me inspired, not to mention ease the pain of putting away laundry!

So how have you stayed disciplined through that first draft? Do you find yourself constantly wanting to edit instead of moving forward and are you ok with that if you do?

Until next time – Chris

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9 thoughts on “A Disciplined First Draft

  1. You’re not the only person who revises as he writes. It’s a matter of learning your own process, I think. I tend to revise as I write. That works for me, as long as I’ve done my planning, and know exactly where I’m headed.

    If you know where you’re going, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re revising as you write, or revising after you write; as long as you finish the book.

    • My tendency to edit as I write stems from the fact that I am a technical writer and editor by trade, thus taking a perfectionist mindset, which can be a hinderance at a first draft stage for novel writing.

      I am also very organized when I write, so I have a pool of notes and an extensive outline. So, I always know where I’m going, which is a huge help; it’s just the getting there that has been an ongoing struggle, but it has been an enjoyable one for the most part.

      Thanks for the feedback!

    • There are days when some of the monotony of staying at home and the typical frustrations of parenting make me nostalgic of less stressful times working my previous job, but those moments are few, and overall, I am happy with the decision I made. I know that this was the best choice for me and my family.

      Thanks for the compliments about my drive to write. I will complete this book someday!

  2. I believe in plow forward, don’t back track. However, I also re-read about the last chapter of my work before picking up my writing again. I do edit if I see something, but I do not read with intent to edit. Nanowrimo is the best thing for motivating me to astonishing word counts. I hit 50k in 15 days. I’m definitely doing the camp in April.

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