Photo by Hannah Olinger from Unsplash
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED HOW AUTHORS WRITE SUCH SPECTACULAR FICTION NOVELS?
Many of you adore authors for their best-selling novels. Many of you probably wonder what an author’s life looks like. Perhaps, you want to become authors yourselves. You want the level of satisfaction and pride when you finish writing a book on your own and everything that comes along with it.
You want to know more about their journey, struggles, secrets to producing a quality book with all the perfectly-written dialogues that leave you crying in your bedroom at night. You may be a huge book worm or maybe you’re just genuinely curious. You may not also be a total avid reader (like me), but you enjoy writing and you’re interested in having a deeper understanding with the entire process.
When writing a novel, the hardest part of the process as an amateur writer is undoubtedly the writing of drafts. It’s already hard enough to allow your story to come to life, but the people’s unrealistic assumptions about what a draft should look like make it even harder. Here are some of the wildest assumptions about first drafts:
- A draft should contain the proper structure and plot.
- A draft should be perfectly written.
- A draft should have the right grammar, spelling, verb tense, etc.
- Good drafts do not need any revisions.
- Successful and experienced authors write first drafts as perfect as the final revision.
Everything listed above is a MYTH. It’s a common misconception especially to amateurs. Drafts aren’t made to be perfect. If they were, then they shouldn’t be called drafts in the first place. Don’t let these false definitions get to you when you’re starting to write your first chapter. Think of writing first drafts as opening your creative gateway where all your raw, unadulterated ideas flow. There’s only a singular, one-way process from your brain into the paper or a laptop. It requires nothing more than putting words into a blank sheet of paper. It doesn’t need you to continually revise or criticize every word you put there (that’s for another writing process).
As an amateur writer myself, I finished my first ever novel (all first drafts, unedited) in a span of 6 months, and it wasn’t pretty at all. It wasn’t easy to be consistent in producing quality writing at a fast pace. I underwent so many struggles, most of which I still haven’t fully mastered. It wasn’t easy to start at all and I learned the harsh lessons the hard way.
7 POWERFUL TIPS TO WRITING MORE DRAFTS FAST:
Set about a 10-minute to 20-minute timer and challenge yourself into writing as many words as you can. This is an effective technique to write quickly and nonstop. A little adrenaline is good exercise. Setting a deadline helps you more active in finding solutions. Moreover, setting a timer also lets you aware of the time allotment you spend in this amount of words. Sometimes the pressure of losing time is gonna help you go beyond your extremes and produce good results. When the time’s up, do it all over again. Make it a goal to surpass the previous word count. Do this until you reach the last chapter. The more words you’ll write, the faster you’ll finish. That’s the main objective when making drafts.
EDIT WHEN YOU’RE DONE
One big reason your writing speed is slow is that you simultaneously write and edit at the same time. Throw away the mindset of perfection especially when constructing drafts because perfect drafts are non-existent. If you multitask two completely different skills into single pacing, it will not only hamper your process but will also get you stuck at a place where all you do is write something, feel proud of it for a second, and change it the next.
This will eventually lead you to spiral in doubt and fear of not being able to make good stories with quality content because your objectives have changed. When writing drafts, you’re not supposed to spot mistakes or be critical in choosing the prettiest words that make you sound smart. Otherwise, you’ll get so invested in an idea or a scene and you can’t let go.
FIND TIME TO WRITE
If you want to write more drafts quickly, you have to find time to write. You have to wake up early in the morning and write. You can do all your household chores first then proceed to write. Allocate time for you to write alone and not do anything and be wise about it. You can’t expect to finish a lot if you keep doing other things and procrastinate. Successful authors do not write because they have the luxury of time, they write because they have to. They’re not driven to write because they have a good mood.
They’re driven with the all-encompassing desire to create stories planted inside their minds and share them to the world. When you’re pushed by the right motives, you find more reasons not to give yourself more excuses. While you’re waiting for the oven to finish, run to your computer and write down the next paragraph. The words aren’t going to write down themselves. You have to willingly want to do it and make time for it even if it seems impossible. If you can do this with less to no complaint, that’s when you realize you’re doing something you love and passionate about. You love and sacrifice for it even when it’s hard.
CUT OFF ALL DISTRACTIONS
You can’t finish anything if you allow turning your head every time the notifications ring on your phone. You won’t be able to draw all your attention to your writing if your mind is constantly thinking of alternatives to relax (since writing requires much brain capacity) and keeping all the distractions within your reach is only going to make it harder. Hide your electronic devices in a place where you won’t easily find or get it. You can also keep it safe with a trusted friend or family member.
If it’s the noise outside your house that distracts you, find a location where you’re comfortable and more likely to focus on your work. If you want to listen to some music while you’re writing, then feel free to do so. If you want to take a break, you can steal a quick 10-minute nap instead of browsing through the internet. This takes great discipline to change bad habits and a great deal of fortitude not to jump at every opportunity to rest.
ESTABLISH A REWARDING SYSTEM
Motivation is increased when one is positively rewarded for an effort. Set standards for you to follow and maintain. When those criteria are met, give yourself something to be satisfied of in exchange of the accomplishment you made, no matter how minute it may be. If you finish a single chapter in less than a day, then take a few minutes to rest and maybe cook yourself a delicious meal. By establishing a healthy rewarding system, you’re training your mind to link that specific accomplishment to a material or a feeling that makes you feel good about yourself.
As a result, there’s a greater likelihood for your brain to work twice as hard to achieve that sense of satisfaction. Not only will this increase productivity, it will also aid build your self-esteem because you see a tangible progress of your growth. It’s never good to overwork and constantly pressure yourself in achieving excellence without appreciation to fuel you every once in a while.
BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR WRITING METHOD
When it comes to a writing process, it’s unique to every single one. You don’t have to follow some sort of professional writing procedure if it doesn’t sit well with you and your needs. You’re aware of your priorities, circumstances, and living conditions. Imitating someone else’s procedure means disregarding all the other factors in your life which makes it unrealistic. If you want to write more drafts quicker with less time used, you don’t have to start exactly in the beginning part of your chapter.
You can start with the fight scene even if it won’t happen until the twelfth chapter. You can write the resolution scene with both characters even if you haven’t written the climax. There’s plenty more time to fill in the gaps and details when all the nitty-gritty is done. As a writer, you have the freedom to start at any part, may it be in the middle or in the ending. That way, you’re more likely to release ideas at multiple angles of the story without compromising your pace.
DON’T WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO “APPROVE” YOUR WORK
Trust me when I say this, people don’t have the luxury of time to read your book. Frankly, they won’t care about your journey learning how to write a novel or even the finished manuscript as much as you do. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t recognize your talent or interest; they simply have other things to do. Don’t wait for a beta reader or a friend to take a look at your work and read it chapter by chapter (even if they promised).
Primarily, your draft is presumably super messy and it will take more time correcting every single mistake, so it won’t probably be a pleasant read anyway. If you want feedback from a beta reader, extend your patience until you’ve finished everything. That way, you wouldn’t be holding off the progress of your novel for a commentary that’s only going to destroy your self-esteem.
Note: Alexa Donne talks about harsh writing advice directed primarily to beginners; pieces of truth you need to hear. You should visit her Youtube channel.
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”Richard Bach