How do you hammer out your first drafts? Have you ever used NaNoWriMo or the 3-Day Novel Contest, or a similar group motivation effort, to get your first draft done?
by Paul D. Marks
Should I quit while I’m ahead and just leave it at that? No, why not put my foot in it more:
I’m too much of a hermit and an individualist to do the group thing. I like to sit in my cave and just write. And I’m pretty disciplined, so I don’t need those things to motivate me. But whatever works for any particular writer is what they should do.
As to how I hammer out my first drafts – I sit myself in a chair, usually at my desk, and write. I’m a pantster, so I write by the seat of my pants. Early drafts are just sort of stream of consciousness...but with some purpose in mind ‘cause I do have a story idea and some characters I’m working with. And I tend to do a lot of drafts because the early ones are so all over the place. But with each I see the story and characters developing. And often the characters change the nature of the story or at least the direction it’s going in.
When I teach on occasion, the thing I find with students is that they’re all gung ho...until it comes time to actually do the work. Everybody, it seems, thinks they’re a writer or at least wants to be. The difference between people who are writers and the wanna-bes is usually no more than sitting oneself down and doing it, improving your writing over time, and then having the persistence to keep doing it in the face of rejection, which can be devastating.
Maybe NaNoWriMo or other things like it are useful to some people, help them get motivated and give them word counts to reach for. But ultimately, whether you just sit your ass in a chair or use NaNoWriMo or one of the other methods to motivate you, it still comes down to just sitting your ass in the chair and doing it.
Okay, ‘nuff said. Now I’m off to watch cute cat videos.
*attributed to Red Smith, Hemingway and others, but I think Red Smith is the one who said it
* * *Well, a little bit o’ personal news. We have a new family member. He weighs in at about 85 or 90 pounds. And is one big guy. He makes our other dog look smallish, and she isn’t. No name for him yet. Got him from Westside German Shepherd Rescue in LA, a no-kill shelter, last Sunday. He’s about three years old. So now we’re back up to our full contingent of two cats, two dogs. The cats are still getting used to him... And, unfortunately, our other dog, Pepper, hurt her knee ligament on Monday and had an operation Wed. Her injury had nothing to do with the New Guy. He was in the house with me and she was running in the yard. She’s home now and recuperating. Here’s the New Guy’s debut pic. You can’t really tell how big he is in this pic, but I think of him as Gigantor.