Writing Done Right
5 Tips to Finish Your Draft
Summary: This article discusses the five tips I use to be sure to finish my first draft.

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Once we sit down to start writing the draft of our book, we need the motivation to finish. In this article I list five tips to complete your first draft.

Writing can be daunting, and some have suggested different tips from setting word count goals for the day, or certain times or places to work on your draft. All of those are great ideas and whatever you are using to work on your book, keep it up. But if you are stuck, consider my five steps here to see if it helps you to finish your first draft. Happy Typing!

1.) Schedule Time

Rather than focusing on word counts, I focus on time. Both are excellent goals, but I look at time instead of word counts because it is easier for me to set aside specific time without distraction and let the words flow. While I do like to try for a certain count, maybe 1000-2000 words per session, I do care more that I have arrived at my writing location on time and I have set up a distraction free zone. If you have the time balanced right, your draft will get done.

2.) Find a Place to Write

Just as important as finding a time to write is finding a place to write. It is a bad idea to have a common workplace and say to yourself, "This is my writing time." Office distractions will find you, something will interfere. This is why I like to write someone other than my main living or working space. I give myself a scheduled time to write, but I do it at specific places. In the summer, I take the writing computer to the park and work at a table. Leave the phone in the car, though, so you are not distracted. In the evenings, I have a picnic table at a park within a few minutes of walking from my house, so I make a cup of tea, bring the computer, and work there for a while. During the winter months, I use the kitchen table or find a donut shop...yum! Just find a place for you that will be free from distraction where you can spend the amount of time you have intended.

3.) Have a Plan

I like to have a plan for my writing before I arrive to write. This why I am not taking my valuable time in planing to find once I have it figured out, it is time to go! I make my plan in thinking time, usually just a few minutes in the evenings. Or I keep a voice recorder near by and dictate ideas as they come to me. Either way, I have my ideas on paper waiting for my time at the keyboard to get the story out. This is true whether you are a Plotter or a Panster, the difference is what degree have you planned!

4.) Keep Going

When you are writing your first draft, speed and flow are the most important things. Do not take the time to stop and do edits unless they are major errors. There will be plenty of time to go back over the draft a few times before getting it into the hands of an editor. I have found that if I stop to do editing during my writing time, the manuscript has a start and stop feel to it, the flow is broken. This is not to say I do not edit anything, I just make it a regular practice to keep writing and not go back and re-read what I have done until the story stops flowing in my mind.

5.) Keep Detailed Notes

I have found keeping detailed notes about character preferences or interactions is a handy guide for your story building. In my novel, I forgot by the end how the character's sister's name was spelled! That would have been prevented if I had that note down. Fortunately, I did have other notes that saved me a lot of time and planning how certain characters would interact, or to remember prior elements of the story so I could build them back into the story later.

Hopefully these tips will help you to get working on that first draft. As an experienced writer, I will tell you that the first draft is the most important part of your manuscript. Once that is done, you will be able to fly through the rest the publishing progress with ease. Good luck!