So far, we have talked about things you can do before you write. We have talked about planning your story, whether that’s outlining or pantsing, controlling the surrounding environment when you write, and rituals you can do to kick start your brain into writing mode. But what about the actual drafting process?
There are several ways you can approach the first draft. These range from how you write sentences, how fast you write the draft, and whether you revise before you finish writing the draft.
Mind Barf vs. Careful Construction: Writing Sentences
If you write more lyrical prose or your training is in poetry, chances are you think about every word before you write it. You craft the perfect sentence, or at least a deliberate one, before moving on to the next.
Other writers type or scribble whatever comes to mind as fast as it enters their brain. I like to call this mind barfing onto the page. The only limitation here is how fast your fingers move.
You may be somewhere in between these two, depending on what you are writing, how fast your brain works, and how many times you edit the words in your head before you write them down. Some writers outline only the major plot points, while others only outline the characters. This is a good way to get the major events in a story without always having to rewrite a detailed outline over and over. For more information on these types of outlining, check out the first article in this series: Outlining Vs Pantsing.
Turtle Writers vs. Rabbit Writers: How Fast Do You Write?
If you fall into the careful construction of each sentence category, you are probably a turtle writer. This means you may bang out a couple of hundred words of your project daily and call it a day. You take a lot longer to finish the first draft, but it’s more polished than those who mind barf every thought. You may produce more words than a couple hundred when you write, but you take a lot more time to get the same amount of words as your mind-barfing counterparts.
If you are in the mind-barf camp, chances are you can bang out a couple thousand, if not tens of thousand words a day in a relatively short amount of time. Your fingers fly over the keyboard or your handwriting is on the messy side because of how fast you scribble just to get everything on the page.
Old School vs. Tech: How Do You Write?
Some writers enjoy using pen and paper for their first drafts. It feels great to write this way. Plus, when you type everything up into your computer, you automatically have a more polished draft because you edit as you go. The feeling of crossing things out, drawing circles and arrows, and other such revision processes are satisfying. A lot of turtle writers and construction writers like to write by hand.
The downsides to writing by hand is that you have to count your words manually. You could lose a notebook and all of that work is just gone, without a backup. Handwriting is usually slower than typing up your work. This method also hurts your hand if you’re not used to it.
Others like the feeling of typing because you can get your words out quickly and save it in several places so you’ll always have a backup of your work. Also, you can copy, paste, cut, delete, and move things around more easily without crossing things out. It’s much cleaner than writing by hand. It’s also easier to change the formatting to meet publisher requirements and you don’t have to take that extra step to type it all up. Mind-barfers tend to end up in this camp.
Downsides to typing include eye strain, the expense of having to print things out, and losing things if you don’t save regularly or have auto-save set up.
Goal Setters vs. Go-With-the-Flow People: Do You Set Deadlines?
Setting deadlines, such as finishing your book by a certain date, writing a certain number of words each day, or … [Read More]