Tuesday’s Tutor: Teaching Myself a “New” Way to Write

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Here’s a lesson I desperately need to learn (or possibly just be reminded of) myself: Write your first draft from beginning to end without having any of it critiqued, without stopping, without rewriting, without editing.

You’d think I could try that in November. Today, as I write this, it’s the 5th of that month, I’ve signed up for the National Novel Writing Month . . . again . . . and I am bogged down . . . again . . . with doubts, wondering, questioning and have only written 2,749 words. I SHOULD have 8,335 by the end of today.

Mind you, I’ve done this sort of thing over and over in November, which is not a great month for me, generally, to write a lot. And I’ve usually managed to win  . . . by writing most of my story from Thanksgiving morning to the end of the month. And that has NEVER been the end of whatever I was working on for that year, even with 50K plus words.

Brian Klems, online blog editor for Writer’s Digest, published a guest blog by Martha Alderson, known as The Plot Whisperer, entitled “7 Reasons to Write an Entire First Draft Before Going Back to the Beginning,” on October 9, 2013. So “BB” ‑‑‑ Pay Attention ! ! ! Maybe This Will Help [yeah, yeah: I’m willing to try anything]:

1) Rather than stop and start over, stop and start over, stop and start over, allow yourself to write that “rough” draft from beginning to end: you’ll actually finish a draft ALL THE WAY THROUGH! [What a novel idea! ‑ or, I don’t know, maybe it’s a non‑fiction idea! :‑) ]

2) You can’t have a clear idea of what comes earlier [at the beginning!], until you reach the end.

3) You’ll accomplish what you set out to do!

4) Once you have the skeleton in place, you can stand back and “see” your story from a new perspective.

5) Before the entire story is written, how can you know the end? Besides, the climax tells you what belongs in the beginning [see #2 above].

6) The less time you spend making every word perfect, the less painful future cuts/revisions will be. [Imagine your angst in cutting 35, 50, even 100 pages you’ve labored over, written and rewritten—you’re more likely to be emotionally invested in those “perfect” scenes. Cutting isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be like killing your babies either.]

7) The greatest benefit: writing a Terrible, Awful, No‑Good, Very Bad first draft can only get better!

So, BB, what have you learned?

BB: Quit rewriting.

and?

BB: Quit fixing.

And?

BB: Quit editing!

AND?

BB: Just finish that baby ! ! !

Thanks . . . I think I will!

See you day ‑ after ‑ tomorrow for Thursday’s 13!

To see Ms. Alderson’s offering in its entirety, go HERE

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