The Joy of a Slow First Draft - Week 9 Recap

I have some exciting news to share! I just wrote ‘The End’ on my 8th novel!!


WOOHOO!

It feels wild to have finished 8 novels. I have a soft spot for all of my stories, but this one especially. This was the very first novel idea I ever came up with, back when I was ten years old. So this story has been over twenty years in the making!


If you’re wondering why on earth it took me so long to write it, it’s because I didn’t know where I wanted to go with the story until recently. 20+ years is a very long time for a story idea to marinate, but sometimes, that’s what a story needs.


If a story idea of yours isn’t working, I encourage you to put it on the back burner and move on to other projects. It’s amazing how your mind continues to work out the kinks of the story, even though you’re not concentrating on it.


Moving on to today’s blog topic, this was one of the slowest first drafts I’ve written. It took me 2 1/2 months to finish. Usually, I can complete a first draft in 1 month, or 1 1/2 months tops.


I’m a pantser, so when I start a first draft, I just go for it, full speed ahead. Move outta the way!

This usually results in an ultra messy draft and a lot of places where I have no idea what happens and I write something like (insert awesome thing here). Trying to finish a novel in such a short amount of time doesn’t really give me a lot of moments to stop and think. I’m always afraid of losing momentum, so rather than slow down, I’ll put in a placeholder and move forward.


But this time around, I slowed down and actually paced myself while tackling the first draft. If I got stuck, I stopped writing and took the rest of the day to think over possible solutions. Instead of skipping over scene descriptions or character descriptions, I wrote them out. I didn’t rush the ending, and I actually have a sorta fleshed out the main character arc.


It felt so good to slow down and take my time with the story. And I’m happy to report that this is the cleanest first draft of any of my novels! Instead of dreading the second draft, when I’d typically have to make sense of the nonsense I wrote, I’m looking forward to diving back into the story and polishing it up.


So while it’s great to sometimes rush through a draft and to get to ‘The End,’ there’s also a big benefit to slowing down, taking your time, and enjoying the process along the way.


Now for some stats!

My mood regarding the past week: Eeeiiyaaayyyy! (screams in excitement)


My mood for this coming week: Take it easy


Other insights: Normally after I finish a draft, I take a break from writing for at least a week to give myself a brain a much needed breather. But since I’m doing my Year of Writing project, I need to keep writing. So I’m going to work on a zero draft for another MG project, but go very slowly. That way, I’m still writing, while also giving myself a chance to recharge.


That's it for now. Til next week!

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