How To Write A Novel Part 4: Drafting

I know that seems like a silly thing to say, but let’s face it. All the planning and scheming in the combine multiverses won’t get you any closer to a complete draft unless you put your butt to the chair and your pen to the paper (or fingers to the keyboard). If you want to write a novel you have to actually write it. And yes, I realize this might sound silly to some of you, but it’s the truth. So, get to it. Write something. Do it now. I’ll wait for you to come back.

Write Some More
Already have something down? Or are you back from that little jaunt? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. You need to write and you need to do it consistently. Don’t get me wrong. If this is your opus, and if it takes 10 years, that’s great… but it’s no way to turn being an author into a career (just saying). So, sit down. Write. Find the time: in the wee hours of the morning, on your lunch break, after you’ve put the kids to bed. But write. Do it every day. I don’t care if you get in 100-words, 1,000-words, or over 10,000-words. You have to keep going, or you’ll never get there.

In that way, writing is like running, whether you’re a sprinter, or a long distance runner, you still have to put sole to pavement to reach the finish line.

Write Crap
I was explaining to a friend the other day that in the first draft I honestly go for quantity over quality… because you can’t edit a blank page.  Write, your first draft isn’t going to be amazing. In all likelihood it’s going to be utter drivel, but that’s why we have drafts 2… and 3… and often times 11.
Get the story out of your head. This is birth, people. It’s not a pretty thing. It’s messy and it’s painful, but the reward is amazing.

Have Brilliant Moments
There will be those moments when you write something that just tickles you pink. Hold on to that. Highlight it in your word doc.
And then move on.

Write More Crap
Don’t get mired in the pitfalls of brilliant moments. Don’t try to duplicate that stroke of genius in every sentence thereafter. It will bog you down and you’ll get nowhere. (Where you going? Nowhere.) Cherish what you had for that fleeting moment and then dig back in and get to it.

Starting a novel isn’t enough. You have to write consistently and you have to buckle down through the things that are tough to write. There will be scenes that will make you smile… there will be scenes that threaten to rip your heart from your chest. Three may not be any crying in baseball, but there certainly is in writing.
Buckle down, and write until your story is finished.


  1. I'm currently in the process of writing, writing crap, stumbling upon moments of sheer genius, then writing more crap. It's enough to make a person crazy. Good thing I already am!


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