Wednesday, 23 December 2009

How I Made it to the Finishing Line

A few people have asked me for some tips on writing the first draft. The easy answer is bum on seat and WRITE! But I thought I would be the longer answer on here. These are not rules but my method. I hope they can help someone else too.

Determination

Three failed attempts. Some people would have given up, headed back to the poetry and short stories, maybe tried again in another decade. I did not want to be beaten.

Having ‘thinking time’

I let the idea swim around. Made notes, Gave some thoughts to the plot.

Planning

I normally write a few hundred words and then make a few scribbled notes. Planning is for school assignments but this time I planned the structure. Post-it notes were my saviour.

Motivation

Dragging yourself to the writing desk after a full day at the office is sometimes hard. Spending 7.5 hours staring at the screen only to come home and do the same for another 2-3 hours in the evening. I needed a target – initially 250 words every day. Nearer the end it was 500.

Letting Go

Just writing the book that I want to read and not writing for the market.

Not caring about the first draft being perfect.

Reading

I stopped reading ‘writing manuals’ for the whole time I was writing the novel. My only concern was about getting the story on to the page. ‘Technical’ bits are for later.

Other things that helped:

  • Drinking hot blackcurrant.
  • Remembering Anne Lamott’s in ‘Bird by Bird’ – first drafts can be shitty. That is their purpose.
  • Reading other writers blogs as they recorded their novel progress.
  • Keeping a notebook near me at all times – ideas always spring up when you least expect them.

3 comments:

Jessie Carty said...

good solid tips :) the biggest one to just do it! that's why i like nanowrimo you have a goal each day to try and get to!

Jessica said...

Thanks :)

green ink said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Exactly what I needed to hear :)