When it comes to finishing a first draft, the best way to succeed is to just get it written. Focus on getting the words on the page. In the words of author Anne Lamott: “The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.” Seems simple, doesn’t it?
Many writers struggle to finish their first drafts because they’re focused on perfection. They believe other authors craft pristine first drafts that are shipped off for publication right away. Lamott continues, “I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts.”
Here’s the secret: your first draft is going to be terrible. You’re going to feel like garbage if you read through what you’re writing. If you try to edit as you go along, you’ll only get discouraged.
Write as fast as you can. Pour your thoughts out on the paper without thought for what it sounds like. You can go through it later and fix everything. That’s what revision is for, after all.
When it comes to finishing first drafts, don’t get it right; get it written.
How do you keep yourself from editing as you go along? What are your tips for finishing first drafts?