Three Pro Ways to Complete Your First Draft Fast

The first draft is nothing less than a big milestone to achieve for many novice writers. The writing process typically starts with an outline, which is why you should have by now created an outline and some sort of character profile sheet for the main characters of your story.

Nonetheless, the first draft is the hardest to write, and the truth is that a lot of people give up even before they have reached this milestone. That said, if you start with an outline and create the character profile and setting sheet, then you are all set and nothing can stop you from completing your first draft.

Set a Deadline

With the help of the outline, you already know what your story is about from the very start to the finish. So, you will want to select a time that you can commit to consistently writing unless the first draft is done. Ideally, the time frame to consistently write and complete your first draft shouldn’t be longer than six months.

The underlying reason is that if something goes longer than three months, it will lose its momentum. This aspect perfectly explains why some novice writers take more than a year to write their first draft. It is important to mention here that the longer you take to complete your first draft, the harder it will be for you to edit and proofread, which is absolutely crucial before sending out query letters to literary agents. Speaking of literary agents, if you live in NYC, you might want to get in touch with the literary agents in NYC to forward your book to the publication house.

You get the point – one of the greatest threats to writing a book, especially the first draft, is to be losing that momentum and not completing your first draft. The primary thing that is going to help you maintain that momentum and complete your draft as soon as possible is to set a timeline for it, which shouldn’t exceed six months.

Ideally, you should aim for three months, but do not stretch it further than six months.

Set Daily Writing Goals

When it comes to writing the first draft, you already know that this is a massive writing project and the only way to complete a big project is to break it down to smaller milestones, which in the case of the first draft, will be daily writing goals.

This aspect is especially important because you have already set a deadline for yourself, which means that you have committed now to writing your book in at least six months. Now, these six months might appear like a long time, but the thing about time is that it tends to pass very quickly, and if you don’t have strategy, then you won’t have enough time to sit down and write every single day.

No matter what your goal is – even if it is something different than writing, you must know that every day counts. You might want to track your progress through word count, where you can set a daily word count for yourself, such as two thousand words.

Setting a daily word count is an effective method, especially when you know how long your book is going to be. You should also do your research before you start writing and understand the standard word count for your chosen genre.

That said, if you have chosen the category of “Young Adults,” then the standard word count starts from seventy thousand words and can go up to ninety thousand words, in which case, if your goal is to complete your book within seventy thousand words, then your ideal daily word count should be about eight hundred words in order for you to complete your book within three months.

Even if you were to write nine hundred words a day, it is not really that much to ask for. As a matter of fact, it is quite doable if you set aside two hours of your day that you solely dedicate to writing and working on your book.

Of course, there will be days when you wouldn’t want to work at all, such as on Sundays, or on the days you might have an appointment, or you might be traveling – whatever it is – there will be days when you won’t be writing – you will want to consider these days as well at the time of establishing your daily writing goals.

When you know that certain commitments are coming up, you might want to write extra on some days – just to fill up the word count; however, you will want to avoid fluff as it will all have to be edited out later. Always keep in mind that the first drafts are always rough.

Leverage Your Outline

To complete your first draft within your established deadline, you will want to make the most of your outline. So, when it comes to using your outline as a way to reach your daily writing goal, here is what you will want to do: instead of sticking to a daily word count that you have to complete, you will want to focus on a certain section of your outline.

For instance, on the first day of your writing project, you might want to focus on completing the section of setup in your outline. If you focus on the various sections of your outline instead of the number of words or the number of pages, the only thing you will be focusing on is completing the setup of your outline until it is done – no matter how much time it takes.

This way, you can actually complete your entire draft in one month – and even less if you are truly dedicated to completing your first draft without unnecessary delay. By focusing on the outline, you will be able to complete your draft in sections of the outline.

The essential benefit of leveraging this method is that you can underwrite. The underlying reason is that when you focus on sections, you are not really keeping track of your total goal, which means that you can potentially end up being a lot shorter than expected.

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