Exciting times. Let me share with you ten things which I have learned to help you complete your first draft.
10. Stop fixating on your word count. Just write your story. Easy to say; tricky to do.
9. Resist the urge to hit that shiny delete button.
8. Remind yourself it's your decision when to put your story in front of someone else's eyes. Until then, it's just you. But really ...
7.5 Don't show anyone your first draft. Trust me on this one.
7. Have a daily goal. It's up to you how ambitious it is, but aim low. The glow of passing that goal could keep you warm on a frozen winter's night.
6. Don't compare your output to anyone else's. There's no win here. Again, trust me.
5. Remember, speed does not necessarily equal quality. On the other hand, slowness does not necessarily ensure quality either. Isn't being a writer wonderful?
4. If you notice yourself smiling while you're writing, it's probably a good sign. Or, you're thinking about cookies.
3. Expect your characters to say and do things you're not expecting. They generally know best. Annoying, but true.
2. Ignore the lure of your colourful secondary characters. One or two will insist they have a larger role. They're usually wrong. This makes up for #3.
1. No one said it was easy. If it were, everyone who says "I'd like to be a writer" would actually be one. Screw your courage to the sticking point and persevere.
*Bonus* And don’t forget, dear reader, that once that first draft is finished, you’re still nowhere near the true finish line. Don’t be depressed. I find huge comfort in that statement.
Enjoy the Olympics. Or, enjoy whichever stage of the writer’s marathon you’re running (or walking, or limping ... you get the idea.)
Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her latest mystery game, "A Fatal Fairy Tale" was published in February. All her murder mystery games and two plays are available through host-party.com. She has also contributed articles to the European writers' magazine Elias. Her blog, It's A Mystery, explores the writing process with a touch of humor and she hopes to start blogging again once she returns from England. Really. But she really is on Twitter as @elspethwrites