1. They’re all terrible. That’s why they’re called drafts.
2. You can’t technically call it a first draft until it’s finished. Otherwise, it’s just a draft.
3. You’re going to have some really good writing days.
4. You’re also going to have terrible writing days.
5. Some days you’re not going to feel like writing.
6. The only person who can tell the story you want to tell is you, so … write anyway!
7. You shouldn’t worry about spelling things wrong. Write first, edit later.
8. “Write first, edit later” pretty much applies to everything about a first draft. Focus on getting it done.
9. You’re not going to like every part of your story. That’s normal.
10. Write with the door closed — don’t ask for help until the first draft is finished.
11. It’s OK if it’s taking a long time. Take as long as you need.
12. Celebrate the small victories. Every milestone counts.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.
3 thoughts on “12 First Draft ‘Secrets’ All Writers Need to Know”
Thanks! This made the pain seem a little less futile :P
I used to write with the door closed, and there’s definitely some value in that. But now I post all my first drafts to Wattpad as I write. Having a diverse readership from all over the world really helps me make the story stronger. Writing doesn’t have to be so solitary. Like my readers have pointed out gaps in representation (I didn’t have any characters from Southeast Asia until someone requested them), and sometimes readers will tell me if they don’t think something is working.
It might not work for everybody, but I like using Wattpad for first drafts because it makes the process more collaborative.
Thanks for the info. First drafts are always bad and incoherent. But over time, you’ll get your style and you’ll improve. :)