What I’ve Learned from My First Draft

Call me strange, but the first draft of a novel is one of my favorite parts of writing. It’s the phase in which I get to discover the story and characters and journeys for the first time. Pretty often I don’t have a clue what twists and turns are up ahead, and it’s so much fun to figure them out… or be completely shocked right along with the characters.

With every story I write, I learn many things. This week I’m wrapping up a first draft. Here are a few of the things I’ve discovered on this particular journey.

  1. Keeping the details straight is hard.

Even though I made notes, it was hard to remember certain specifics by the time I got several chapters beyond that initial occurrence. I have a feeling I’ll be catching many inconsistencies in the upcoming revisions phase. Good thing I’m a copyeditor and know how to go through a manuscript with a fine-tooth comb once last time before sending my book off someplace.

Courtesy of Simon Howden and
  1. Ideas come at the worst times.

It never fails. When I’ve been brainstorming or writing a scene, the ideas don’t just shut off when I move on to another activity. I keep a flashlight, pen, and notepad next to my bed, because I often get ideas just a few minutes after snuggling beneath my comforter for the night. And I haven’t yet figured out how to take notes when the spark of an idea comes to me in the shower or while I’m washing dishes. Any suggestions?

  1. Brain breaks are productive.

One way I fight writer’s block is to take “brain breaks.” This could be anything from checking Facebook or Twitter to going for a walk to watching a movie with friends or family. The point of these breaks is to get my mind off my story, let that creative part of my brain rest a little. By doing this, I’ve found that my mind is more rejuvenated and ready to get back to work when I next open my novel document.

As I’m finishing up the last couple of scenes of this draft, I’m already asking myself: What will I learn on the next one?

What have you learned from your creative outlet?

What is your favorite “brain break”?



Join the conversation! Leave a comment.

Remember to share this article with your friends.

2 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned from My First Draft

  1. I stopped by your blog for the first time today and have to admit that I chuckled at #2. I don't have much help for that except \”Dry off your hands and grab a pen!\” :)~Hannah

  2. Hannah, I'm glad you got a giggle from it. 🙂 Maybe I should keep a pen and pad of paper next to the tub. Why haven't I thought of that before? Hope you'll visit Writing to Inspire again soon!

Leave a Reply