I’m an advocate for fast first drafts. Plot all you like, but when you get started on the writing part, build momentum and don’t stop until you’re done. I know people who keep going back to revise what they’ve already written and never actually finish the manuscript.
If you’re one of those people who can’t bear the thought of writing a first draft without stopping, but you've yet to finished a manuscript, maybe it’s time to write fearlessly.
You can change anything in later drafts.
I’m serious. I’ve proved over the years that every single aspect of a novel can be changed. Setting all wrong? Antagonist too corny? Plot looking wonky? Not a problem. But fix it later.
If you think something needs changing, make a note of it in a separate document then plough ahead. There are writing articles and books out there that will tell you that it’s impossible to change POV once you’ve written it.
This is a lie.
I can say this to you confidently, because I’ve changed the POV in a story before. Hell, I’ve even changed the protagonist before. And I’m not talking about changing my main gal from one character to another pre-existing character. I mean I’ve changed her personality to fit a completely different person. It took work, yes, but it’s definitely possible.
If you never get it done, you’ll never get it published.
Obvious, isn't it?
Even if your goal isn’t to get published, if you’re forever writing and never finishing anything, you’ll never feel that moment of satisfaction when you complete your first draft. Trust me, it’s a phenomenal feeling. Yes, the manuscript won’t be perfect. But at least you’ll have the foundation to build on.
Posting daily word counts is a great way to force yourself onwards. Be a cheerleader for others, so you have plenty of people cheering you in return. Wow them with your ability to stick with it, and your pure grit. It’s all about the act. Tell everyone you can do a certain amount of words a day, and you’ll have no choice but to prove it. The act becomes reality.
If you’re still revising your first draft without no real end in sight, make a vow to yourself now. How many NEW (not revised) words a day will you write until you’re finished? (A thousand is a good way to go – not as tricky as NaNoWriMo, but enough to make solid progress.) Need a cheerleader? I'm happy to help!
If you’ve completed a first draft already, what did you do to celebrate?
PS Please note I'm not telling you to change your writing habits. If editing as you go works for you, great! I'm merely suggesting an alternative if it's not working.