Everyone has a story in them somewhere. Deep inside every person’s soul, there’s a story just dying to get out. While some people express that story through painting or poetry, many people take it on through writing a novel.
Then they realize that writing a novel takes a long time.
Seriously, it takes a long time to write a conventional novel. A very long time. After all, you’re writing down 50,000 words at minimum. They all have to be spelled correctly, they all need to be coherent, and the story they create has to be epic. All at once!
Honestly, that time commitment is what scares people off from writing a great deal of the time. Which is why we’re super excited to introduce a new concept of writing to all you Hemingway wannabes: Fast drafting.
No, not the drafting associated with beer. Fast drafting has to do with writing the first draft of that sacred book you’re holding inside. Instead of working on the first draft of something for eternity and then editing it over and over, you write the first draft all at once and spend the bulk of your process editing. Some people spend 30 days fast-drafting a novel, while some crazy souls attempt it all in one day. As in 50,000 words in one sitting!
Even if you’re not up for such a crazy endeavor, here’s five reasons why you may want to consider fast drafting:
- Your first draft doesn’t have to be good. Get the idea out of your head that the first draft of anything you write has to be perfect. That’s what traps people into not writing that book they’ve been wanting to write their entire lives. But this problem doesn’t exist when you’re fast drafting—you’re just getting it all out there before your deadline.
- The book will become less “precious.” Whenever you write something, you’re immediately putting a part of yourself out to the universe. That can be a highly stressful experience! But giving into that stress can slow down your ability to actually get the book out into the world. Writing your book fast-draft style is a great way to get rid of those clingy feelings you may have toward your work. You won’t have time to be sentimental!
- Your characters may surprise you. One of the biggest traps for authors is keeping too tight of a grip on the story’s plot. Some of the best stories are those where not even the author always knows what’s going to happen. Surrendering control to the story itself and getting out of the way allows the characters to roam free. When things progress “naturally” (i.e. without you, the author, getting in the way of the action), you may end up with a line even better than what you would have come up with!
- Fast drafting forces you to brainstorm. Anyone who’s ever worked on a deadline knows that you have to make decisions ten times quicker than you would have otherwise. Fast drafting is the same way, except it also forces you to plan ahead. When you’re writing an entire book in one week, you need to know what’s coming around the bend. Writers notoriously hate plotting out books, but there’s nothing quite like fast drafting in terms of motivation to do it.
- The worst is over! Ending a session of fast drafting is one of the best feelings in the world. You’ve done it! You’ve completed your first draft! You’ve now beaten every author’s worst nightmare: Getting stuck on the rough draft. Anything you don’t like in the first raft, you can go back and edit out. Heck, you can even go back and alter the entire story if you want. You have the raw materials, and now you can move forward.
The gist of it all is this: Fast drafting forces you to get the story done and also reveals what you actually like or dislike about the story. You’re also putting yourself in an author state of mind, not that of a writer that’s so emotionally attached to their work that it doesn’t do well. Fast drafting forces you to evaluate your entire book… and come out the other side ready to make it a success.
Have you ever tried fast drafting? How did it go? Tell us all about it in the comments!