2 September 2021: Writing Advice for a First Drafter
Every writer starts out with that first draft, the very first story that hooks them in and they feel like they have to write it or they'll burst. Whether or not you remember your very first draft, that passion for writing is what keeps writers going.
But back to that very first draft.
Going into one's first story is a challenge that not even the author knows of yet because becoming a writer is a long process, though worth the work. Should someone choose to pursue writing, to put in that work to improve and tell the stories they want to tell, here's some advice:
Finish the draft. It doesn't matter how bad you think it is, how much of a mess it may or may not be, just finish it. Then take some time away from it so you can return to it with fresh eyes, which is when you find what works and what needs improving.
Always back up your work. Use thumb drives, email backups, Google Drive, hard copies, whatever it is that works for your process, but make sure you back it up.
Don't compare yourself to other writers because everyone has different experiences and levels of expertise that influence their writing. Each writer is different and has something unique to offer.
Change formats when editing: computer to hard copy, changing the font, switching locations for writing vs. editing, etc. It will allow you to catch things you may have overlooked because of the format you used while writing.
Do not be afraid of criticism. Not every reader will like your story and that's okay. However, writing is a learning process. You will get things wrong or miss things and that's okay. Just take advice where you can and do your best to apply it to your future writings.
Read aloud to figure out the flow of your writing. Is the dialogue realistic? Where are you pausing in your sentences? Is anything difficult to read or understand? Do all the characters speak the same, making them indistinguishable from one another? How is the grammar?
Take care of yourself above anything else. Yes, make time for writing, but creativity comes from nourishing oneself, which means meeting your physical and emotional needs. Eating and sleeping well, spending time with friends and family, engaging in other hobbies, and allowing yourself to rest without guilt when you need it.
I have plenty more advice, but I think these are the most important for those dipping their toes into writing for the first time.
This topic was inspired by this week's prompt for Writer Talk Tuesday by The Writer Community on Instagram, but I do my blogs on Thursdays. So here we are.