Tools For A Successful First Draft


I am in the midst of the first draft of my latest Regency romance (more info about the new book to come in the days ahead) and I am having a really good time. And it occurred to me to ask the question: why is this first draft bringing me so much joy? What is different about this particular book?

 Well, some of the joy comes from the characters and the story itself. It’s a comedy, filled with funny situations and light-hearted banter along with the romance. Laughter always makes me happy, so that is one reason. But there are more…I’ve made a bit of an effort to make this draft easier on myself than I usually do. It seems that with a little planning and a little TLC for me, first drafts can be a bit breezier than they were before.

 1) I make sure I get enough sleep. I actually allow myself to sleep at least half an hour later every morning. Sometimes, I wake up before the alarm, raring to go, so I get up and work, but if I need the extra shut-eye I take it with no judgment. I am writing a new book after all.

 2) I stay away from the internet. I adore being online and chatting with my friends. I love to hear what my readers are thinking about, what my writer buddies are up to, what other people are reading, and how their puppy dogs are doing. All of that brings me a lot of bliss. But when I am in the midst of a first draft, writing 2000 words a day while also working full time at a bank, I can’t spare the time for my intenet fun more than two or three times a  week. So I’m sorry to be away so much, but hopefully the book will be so good, you guys  will forgive me.

 3) I work according to my own body rhythmns. Instead of staying up late and writing into the wee hours as some of my friends do, I get up early and write before work. I also bring my laptop to work every day, and during my lunch hour I write in my car. I probably look a little nuts to all the people who walk through the parking lot, but as all you writers know, crazy is par for the course.  This reminds me of my buddy Shana Galen, who takes her laptop with her when she is driving around town with her husband and writes scenes at stoplights. Needless to say, she’s the passenger in this scenario, but that is a writer who makes her time work for her.

 4) I reward myself. I check my word count every couple of days, and look at how many pages that yields, and praise myself for how far I come within a week. No one hears this praise but me, but its important to remind myself that my hard work is paying off in pages piling up.

 5) If I miss a day, I don’t fret. Sometimes I miss a day…and this is ok. When I begin my book, I budget extra time so that I have a buffer between when I need to finish the first draft and when I need to start the 2nd. A little buffer goes a long way toward peace of mind.

 Bascially, whatever point you are in your writing or in your current draft, try to be nice to yourself. A little kindess will help you get the work done faster, and you’ll be happier.

4 Responses to “Tools For A Successful First Draft

  • Fabulous post Christy! Love the pointers. I especially need to do more of #2 as I am waaay too easily distracted. 🙁 Happy writing!

    • Christy
      6 years ago

      LOL Vicki! You are the queen of productivity. You don’t need any pointers 🙂 You’re my hero

  • Ellen Seltz
    6 years ago

    So true! #2 has made a huge difference in keeping a writing habit, and in overall productivity.

    • Christy
      6 years ago

      I do love the fun of closing myself off from the world with my book Ellen Seltz 🙂 XOXO

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