4 Tips For Finishing Your First Draft



Photo by  Buatoom

Beginning this year I made a goal, well I added it to my Birthday Bucket List that I would complete the first draft of my novel. As someone who has been writing all her life (okay, since age 4), I have a problem with finishing things. I have so many starts or middles to novels, but rarely endings. So, this is why I at 30 will finally complete a novel!

How am I keeping this goal? Well, I thought I would share some tips that have worked for me as I hit the 32,000-word mark last night (okay, 32,123 to be exact – look at all those pretty numbers!).

Schedule Your Writing

Since January, I have kept a schedule of two days a week of writing. I try to write on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Some weeks I can do all three days, but I try not to burn myself out. This helps with the “I should bes.” Before I found myself constantly feeling guilty for not writing. I would say, “I should be writing, but instead I am watching Netflix or hanging out with friends.” Now that I have a schedule, I say, “I love that I just binged watch Daredevil Season 2 on my Wednesday night. I can’t wait to write tomorrow!” It really frees me up to write and also live my life.

Limit Your Time

This may sound like a radical idea, why should I stop the creative process? Shouldn’t I just write for hours and hours? If it works for you, do it. I’ve learned it doesn’t work for me. I’ve learned that deadlines are my friends. I was always that kid in school who would procrastinate and write the research paper the night before and get an A. So, I appreciate that my local coffee shop closes at 8 as I get there at 6:30 and I only have an hour and a half to write and I GET IT DONE. No time to waste on Twitter when the minutes are ticking.

Google Docs

Google Docs is free, accessible anywhere, and loves me. Yup, it loves me. I use a Chromebook to write, which is perfect as I can access Google Docs offline. I can also write when I am at home or at work or on break. If inspiration hits, I don’t have the excuse that my novel is somewhere else. It also helps with the anxiety that my computer will crash and I will lose everything. Of course, have a copy saved on your hard drive because the cloud isn’t a permanent solution.

Write, Write, Write

As I said, I have the days that I write, in the hours that I write, with the Google Docs available anytime – as you can see, I have removed most of the excuses. Yet, I will find an excuse because that is what writers do. So, I tell myself to “write, write, write.” Even if it sucks. Even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if I forgot what the character looked like (just make a note for later). I write. I can go back and change it, but for now, get those fingers moving. Get to 1,000 words. Get to 10,000 words. And eventually, you’ll hit 100,000 words.

I hope these tips help you in your writing. Let me know what tips work for you in the comments below.

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