The First Draft: Just get it out on paper

Oh first drafts. So full of joy and adventure and excitement – until you read them.

There’s a reason they’re called “ROUGH” drafts, folks, and it’s because they are usually, indeed rough. When we’re turning our stories into words for the first time, the writing isn’t always going to be presentable. Lord knows mine is in shambles my first go around, always including too much redundant character motion and not enough scenic details. Transitions get left out. Dialogue tags are out of control. Scene movement can get choppy.

But that’s okay because the rough draft isn’t the final draft.

A while ago, I was at a critique meet when I heard someone call their first draft, her “vomit draft,” and it’s stuck with me ever since. And here’s why . . .

A vomit draft implies a couple of things:

  • You throw your story onto paper as quickly as your body will allow.
  • You don’t worry about what’s pouring out of you being pretty or perfect, you just get the story out.

It’s crazy how changing one word in your vocabulary can alter the way you view writing. Thinking of my first draft this way helped me out in more ways than I expected, but here’s just a small list:

  • My productivity shot through the roof. I went from having 2/3rd of a rough draft for one book to (in nine months) having two complete drafts of two books.
  • It took the pressure off, letting me enjoy the adventure of writing instead of seeing it as a chore.
  • It also allowed me to dive deeper into the tension/pacing of each scene instead of worrying so much about the details.

But like I said before, the vomit draft should never, EVER, be your final draft. So now that you’ve gotten your story completely written out, go revise it then ask a fellow writer/reader to look at it – we’ll discuss the importance of critique partners and beta readers in a later post. Hint: You want one!

Happy Writing!

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