Make It Through The First Draft

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Writing a novel can be overwhelming. If it’s your first, you may not think you can make it. This is a vulnerable time. Writing is not a sprint. It’s an endurance test. Whether you’re a planner or a panzter the process can play tricks on your mind. You agonize over the right word. You start to feel down on your story, your writing and yourself. This is toxic.


Shut down that inner critic. This is not the place to agonize, pick or poke the quality of your writing. Editors, agents and future drafts all await you. When you start to think, “Who am I? No one will want to read this.” or “It’s impossible to get published.”, you feed into a track of negative self-talk. Once you believe it, you’ll be tempted to stop. You will want to avoid writing or you’ll put it off for another day, when you feel like it.


Thing is, you’ll never feel like it if you can’t tamp down the demons. Writing is your job. You won’t wade through the ocean in a day, will you? Nor will you finish the novel by worrying the first draft isn’t good enough.


Guess what? It’s supposed to be bad. Just get the words down. Keep going, don’t think about submissions. That should be the furthest thing from your mind.

angry fred

Try to float through insecurities, keep writing. If you can get to the next page and the next before you know you’re done with that first chapter. Once you’ve done one chapter you can do two, if you make it to the dreaded half way mark, keep going. Don’t talk about your work or your story. Keep the fires of creativity stoked with a need to get the plot on paper. Writers who talk about their work grow bored. Talk too much about the details and you’ll find enthusiasm waning just when you need that the most.

sleep fred

It you write your story linear, turn off the harsh inner critic and keep juicy details to yourself, the momentum will carry you through the worst first draft malaise your mind can ever dish up. You’ll have you’re first draft done, and hey your a novelist. Now you get to edit that sucker.

Glitter Fred

4 thoughts on “Make It Through The First Draft

    elsie elmore said:
    April 15, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Great words of wisdom. Thanks for sharing! (Love the EH poster 🙂


      jmledwellwrites responded:
      April 15, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks Elsie! Glad you liked, as always thanks for stopping by.


    njmagas said:
    April 15, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    My first draft keeps getting side tracked by smaller projects at the moment. Invitations to submit, perfect homes for some of my other short story drafts that need to be cleaned up and the like. Hopefully soon I can sit down and actually pound out all the wrinkles on my big project. There are a lot of wrinkles.


      jmledwellwrites responded:
      April 15, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      LOL wrinkles are good you’re making progress! It’s easy to get sidetracked, I have a few projects but you’ll come back to it if the passion is there. Thanks for stopping in!


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