6 tips for 1st drafts

Write fast and easy

Write with and on whatever feels most comfortable. Write as quickly as the ideas come to you. 

Don't edit

Don't worry about spelling, grammar, or anything other than getting the ideas down on paper when you are writing a first draft.

Stay on track

Read what you wrote the previous day to seed your mind with the work you have done. 

Trust yourself

If you are flooded with ideas and those ideas are not the next section you had anticipated writing, write the ideas anyway. This is a first draft. Get the ideas on paper so you don't lose them.

Block writer's block

Imagine tasks for your writing. If you aren't ready to get into the next logical section of the piece, write a section you can get into. Keep a loose list of scenes you think you will need. Start with one of those. If that doesn't work, ask yourself questions about the work and answer them in writing. Questioning the blockage is like an enema. It will ease the blockage out of the way and give you release.

Write notes and reminders to yourself

When you are on a roll and think of something you missed and need for verisimilitude, write notes in the margin, scribble within the text if you need to in order to keep that information and not interrupt your flow. This isn't a contradiction to "trust yourself." I'm describing two different phenomena. If you need more clarification, please email me and I will support this distinction.

Free bits and news

10 writing prompts: where will you go?

1. I have a dragon...

2. The last time I'd seen her...

3. The fire began...

4. Crap, I did it again...

5. The only problem I could see...

6. Without warning...

7. She wasn't home, she was...

8. I'll start at the end...

9. Summer always begin the same ...

10. I once had a dragon...

Writer's tool box

BOOKS

Read as much as you can! Read fiction, nonfiction, poetry, newspapers, field guides, menus, graffiti, job ads, billboards. Are you seeing a trend? You never know where the next great idea will come from. Jot down beautiful language or images that catch your eye. 

MORE BOOKS

I like having a dictionary, thesarus, reference books for quotes, the Bible, my favorite novels, poetry and nonfiction books nearby. I won't interrupt my flow of writing to look things up unless my writing flow is being distracted by the word, specific detail, or phrase I can't pull out of my head. 

PENCILS, PENS, COMPUTER, CRAYONS OR QUILLS?

It doesn't matter unless it really matters to you. Write with whatever tools you enjoy using. The one bit of advice I'd give is to not buy journals that are too pretty or expensive. If their appearance or cost get in the way of you writing a crappy first draft in them they are way too expensive. I have been so cheap as to buy outdated nicely bound calendar books and written over the dates.

Personally, I usually begin a project longhand in cheap journals or notebooks--I occassionally spurge on a moleskin journal, but then I put that draft into the computer. When I am typing it I am doing some revision and edits, but not too heavy because first I want to get a complete first draft while the work is in my head.