chapter-by-chapter outline · Drafting · First Draft · outlining · Springtime in Surrey · The Cottage on the Hill · writing · writing process · Writing Progress · writing tips

Don’t Wait–Draft Now!

Remember a while back I explained my chapter-by-chapter outline method? If you don’t, that’s okay. A lot of life has gone by since then. You may check out the details in this article.

Outlining is all well and good, and it’s become quite a necessity for me in my writing process, but if we don’t draft the story shortly after finalizing the outline, we risk losing the momentum we built up in that creative process.

Once the outline is finished and fleshed out with solid faith, physical, and emotional plot points, I might let it rest one or two days but not much more than that. Instead, I dive into the first draft!

The reason for this is that while outlining, the story burst to life in my mind. If I wait too long to draft the story after that, the extra time lulls the story to sleep again. It can be a beast to wake it back up.

So my suggestion is: Don’t wait–draft now!

I did this with The Cottage on the Hill, which is featured in the Springtime in Surrey anthology. As soon as I had the outline finished and polished and decided upon, I began drafting the story chapter by chapter, keeping an eye on that outline as I went along so I would know what needed to happen in each chapter but also where I was heading next.

Those things were key to keep in mind as the story took shape so that I was better able to keep the grand picture in mind. (We’ll discuss this in more depth next month when we talk about having End-Goal Focus. I just made up that term, but it sounds like a good one, so I’m rolling with it. Maybe it’ll be the next big writing thing!)

Drafting immediately after the outline did not make a perfect first draft. I wish! But it did let me get the full story out of my head and into my word processor. From there, I was able to edit the story, send it to beta readers, edit again, send it to my publisher, and edit again… You see where this is going. Lots and lots of editing!

That’s what it took to make Cottage shine.

It was wonderful to be able to know exactly what scene(s) I was going to be working on when I sat down with my laptop every day. That definitely helped the story take shape much faster than it ever would have with zero outline or with a time-gap between the outlining and drafting phases.

Now that I’m drafting a new story, I’ve followed the same process: outline, then draft. I’m trying to wrap up the first draft today, so I better get to work!

Have you recently outlined a story?
Did you jump straight into the first draft afterward?
Did you wait a while before drafting?
Which method works better for you and why?

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