What's Wrong With Rushing Through the First Draft of a Novel?

What’s Wrong With Rushing Through the First Draft of a Novel?

What's Wrong With Rushing Through the First Draft of a Novel?
Photo by Bluestar Tam / via Flickr

What's Wrong With Rushing Through the First Draft of a Novel?

In today's world, we're busy. We fill our schedules to the max, and we're eager to get things done. We need that pleasure of having a task complete so we can start a new project.

For writers, some of us have put our writing work aside for far too long and we just want to get our stories out to the world. And maybe make up for lost time.

That's where the beauty of writing a novel in 30 days comes in. It's that chance to devote a small part of the year to writing. And that means a lot if we've kept our desire to write on the side lines. The commitment is minimal in the grand scheme of things, and by the end of the month, we'll have 50,000 words on the page. Maybe for the first time in our lives.

Sometimes we just have to jump in and get it done. And if it takes making a 30-day commitment to get it done, then so be it. It's now or never, right?

There are two really good reasons to write a novel in 30 days (or speed through one in a short amount of time).

1. You've been putting your writing aside for too long.

If you need to jump in and start writing, making the 30-day commitment is a great way to do it. You'll have words on the page and you'll get the creative juices flowing. You'll be transferring the images you have in your head into writing form. If nothing ever comes from the process, you'll at least have some practice under your belt.

It takes a ton of practice to hone our writing skills. Our writing work now will seem amateurish in 10 years if we keep studying the craft, practicing, and getting words on the page. Better to start now. 🙂

2. You have a thorough outline and you've thought things through.

If you have a thorough outline and plan, knocking out the novel in a short amount of time is doable. As long as you're not just putting words on the page for the sake of reaching your word count, a thorough outline will help you stay on track so you can produce a solid first draft.

One of the big issues I have with rushing through the first draft of a novel is that we don't allow ourselves enough time to finalize our plot details. If we haven't spent time mapping out the details, figuring out the plot points, and giving our characters enough personality, conflict, and motivation, there's a good chance writing the novel in thirty days will give us a bunch of words we can't use.

So, if you have a thorough plan and you can pull off a solid first draft, go for it.

Sometimes we just need a tough deadline to get our work done and start reaching our writing goals. If we allow an endless amount of time for a particular writing project, we'll likely end up spending an endless amount of time on it because we haven't set any goals or milestones.

Jody Calkins
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