Getting That First Draft Done

Ironically, I haven’t posted a blog in a few days because I’ve been procrastinating on writing this one. LOL.

When I started self-publishing I was in the middle of my MBA, working full-time for a large tech company, and raising my kiddos. Writing happened as my stress release after the kids were in bed and homework was finished. Any pauses in writing weren’t procrastination so much as a lack of time. In addition, I wasn’t working to a deadline with Blue Violet, which gave me some leeway.

Fast forward two years. MBA is over and I’m now a stay-at-home mom, concentrating on my family the way that we felt would work best for us. Four books have been self-published, 3 more written and in various stages of editing/publishing/querying, and I’m starting on first draft for another one. In addition, I now have a contract (squee!). So things have changed significantly. In particular, I’m on more of a deadline/schedule – both to my publisher and to my readers.

How do I keep up with it? The answer is, I don’t most days. Life can very easily get in the way. And, surprisingly, writing isn’t the only aspect of being an author. It’s absolutely the most important! But with querying, marketing, researching, critiquing, workshops (and the list goes on) it’s not the only thing.

Here’s how it works for me… It is my goal to write 3 to 5 pages a night. Every night. I focus on the project due soonest, but I do jump around as needed. Do I get my pages in every night? Definitely not. All those other responsibilities, along with distractions – pretty much anything on the Internet – frequently prevent me from hitting that daily goal.

But here’s what I’ve found… I work better under pressure anyway. And if I can get the first draft on paper fast, I really prefer working on the second draft anyway.

Whatever I am able to actually get done with that 3-page/day goal is always a good base. But when it really comes down to “now or never” time for a project, I’ve also learned that I can write 25/30 pages in a day when I have to. In fact, Candace Haven’s workshop on writing a book in a month really helped me with this.

That first draft is always the hardest, most grueling part of writing for me. But once it’s on paper, that’s where I really get lost in my craft. I LOVE second draft. I spend most of my detailed time on the second draft. Wendy – my awesome editor for my self-published books – will be the first to tell you that I am also super fast at revisions – and good revisions, too.

My point is this… Many friends have mentioned wanting to write a book and not having the time. My response is… I completely get it. Life and responsibilities and the Internet get in my way on a daily basis. BUT also try this…

Just get that first draft done. Not perfect, not even complete – you might finish the bulk but have holes you need to go back and plug in. Even better… work with your significant other/family to get yourself some solid time, take a long weekend, lock yourself in your bedroom, and try just getting it on paper. You’ll be shocked at how much you can accomplish!


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