- Auto program the coffee pot so you can plug that caffeine drip in as soon as you wake. No Facebookin' or tweeting before you get your word count in. Trust me on this. I have to have the pot of dark roast made before I get up at 6 a.m. I can't write more than this: hieooafhewnfanvzjod without a strong cup of java.
- Have a plan of attack. You wouldn't go on a trip without deciding where you're going and how you're going to get there, right? And rearranging your schedule to make the trip possible? Same goes for your first draft. Know what you're story is about before you get started - at least the goal, motivation, big conflict and main characters - is key, and then invite your characters into your convertible with the top down and enjoy the ride! (And do not allow the naysayers in the backseat. They will try to get you to pull over and go back, and that's not conducive to First Draft Finish Line.)
- Go into hiding. You'll only survive your first draft by cozying up to your story. For me, that means to write in my studio in the garage where it's quiet and I can't hear the kids and hubby getting ready for school. Depending on your circumstances, it may mean keeping your novel-writing affair quiet. I mean, you and your first draft are intimate. You don't have to spill the beans of every base you get to. Besides, no one is going to understand why you are so infatuated with your story but you. You going ALL THE WAY is totally your business. They'll understand why you were so infatuated when it's all done and you get the book deal.
- Be gentle on yourself. Be tough on yourself. So here's where the yin-yangy business comes into writing your first draft. You have to go easy on yourself in regards to not judging your writing at this leg of the journey and you have to be tough on yourself to see your story through to the end. You get to keep your butt on the seat even when you don't feel "in the mood" and honor that time with your story. If you're like me, the ahas may come when you are not in front of your computer, but you still need sit and write every day.
- Make writing a top priority. The first draft can't become a second or third or final draft until it's completed, which means you have to make writing an "inked" to-do, not a penciled in, if I get around to it. I'm living, breathing proof that you can still hold down a job and be a good mom while writing a novel. Just be selective of how you spend your time. For me, no (or a little) TV and working from home (owning my own business) helps keep fiction-writing a top priority, but I'm still a dance mom, den mom, homework helper and so on. What I'm NOT is a good cook, great housekeeper or social butterfly. I would choose work and writing over grocery shopping any day. But I know plenty of writers that keep the dust bunnies at bay. Just choose what works for you. Or who, if you can hire a maid and a cook. *I wish*
I'm also running a November promo. If you buy Something New in the Kindle store, I'll gift you one of my short stories. Either "Snowflakes and Stones," or "The Pool Boy." Just email me your receipt to malenalott (at) me (dot) com before month's end.
Praise for Something New