Writing Tips
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5 Crucial Things to Remember While Writing Your First Draft: #AmWriting #WritingWisdom #writingtips


First Draft.

Those two words wield a whole lot of power, evoking emotions from giddy excitement to brain numbing dread.

Some writers stand strong on the side of excitement, ready to throw down words and metaphors like hot fire, while others battle cold sweats and nausea at the single thought of how many words it’s going to take to bring their creative vision to life.

365-day-writing-challengeI digress for just a moment. If you are one of those who struggles with where to begin with your novel-writing-journey, give this writing prompt I created a try. It’s called Write Your Novel in 365 Days. 

With as few as 200 words a day, guided by a single word of the day to inspire you, you can have a complete novel written from start to finish in 365 days!

And just remember, your 365 day writing year starts on the day you begin. It could even be today!

Back to the original point.

No matter where you stand on the first-draft-spectrum, you will more often than not, run into those familiar feelings that try to convince you that what you are doing, or what you’ve done thus far just isn’t good enough in comparison to your original vision! (For some specific encouragement about that issue, read, 3 Reasons to Keep Creating.)

Your first draft is similar to a preliminary sketch in an artist’s sketchbook.

The point is, those thoughts you are having aren’t necessarily as untrue as they are irrelevant at the moment.

Now, let me explain my meaning before you leave this posting.

You are writing a first draft. Your first draft is similar to a preliminary sketch in an artist’s sketchbook. Sketches are lovely in their own right, but they are nothing compared to the polished finished piece.

The finished piece will have more color, more contrast, more depth. More care and focus is given to the finished piece.

This is the truth of your first written draft. It is a sketch. It’s good enough now as a ‘sketch’, but prepare yourself to make it even better as a final draft. . . and you will!

With that being said, here are 5 Crucial Things to Remember about your first draft to encourage you as you continue on this writing journey:

  1. Just keep writing: First drafts don’t have to be perfect, they just have to BE in order to be worked into something incredible. Keep building your story’s foundation with this first round of word-slinging.
  2. Don’t make the story into something that it is not: There is a saying in the visual art world that is, “Create what you see, not what you think you see.” In the case of writing, “Write what you see, not what you wish to see for convenience.” If you want to derail your stories authenticity and originality, try to fit it into a mold that makes you “comfortable,” but totally contradicts what the characters in your piece are laying out for you.
  3. TRUST THE PLOT TO WORK ITSELF OUT!: If your story seems to have a conflict that has you uncertain about how it is going to resolve itself, don’t worry. If you follow your muse and honor point #2 the resolution will reveal itself at the appropriate time. For more on this read my post called, “The Hydra Effect: 3 Ways to Manage Multiple Plot Conflicts”.
  4. Don’t mind the word count…too much: (Obviously, 200k is a lot to manage for a reader and even a writer at times.) Just write what the story is telling you in ALL the words that it tells you the first time around. You can trim and polish later.
  5. Just have fun: What other reason is there for writing fiction besides to have fun?

So keep writing, my friends. Make those ugly word messes in your first draft. Create those run-ons and those dead end plot twists. All of this is part of the glory of writing a story!

*These 5 points were taken from my post called, Never Judge a First Draft By It’s Word Count: The Fun of Novel Writing,” published on May 21, 2015.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!


  1. Thanks, Stacey. All really good points. The first draft is definitely a sketch. Trying to write finished work is a recipe for never finishing.
    Nice blog article – good length.

    TE Mark

    • T.E.Mark, I am super glad to hear that these points spoke to you! My goal is to encourage creatives even as I encourage myself with what I learn in my writing process.

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