Writing

Advice On Finishing A First Draft

Am I the best person to give advice on finishing a first draft? No. Will that stop me from preaching what I don’t practice? Nope.

Take a break.

For my first novel, I took a long hiatus but eventually got around to finishing it.

Just make sure you actually return to your unfinished manuscript at some point.

Edit or proofread.

Sometimes, I’d rather edit than write. My mood bosses me around.

Again, you can fall into the trap of only editing your half-finished manuscript rather than writing the ending to it. Hopefully, making edits will get so painful that you choose the lesser of two evils.

Talk to someone.

We all need a friend who will listen to our problems.

You don’t even have to talk about writing. Perhaps all you need is a little bit of encouragement.

I wish you the best of luck in finishing your first drafts. It’s not an easy feat, but the feeling is like none other.

If you have any advice, feel free to tell me. I need all the help I can get.

Writing

Advice On Starting A First Draft

Outline

Sketch a timeline of events that will happen. Brainstorm scenes using sticky notes and move them accordingly. Create character sketches beforehand, so you have a better understanding of key players in your novel.

Research

Reading articles, essays, or books might inspire you to write your own. Besides, Google is your best friend.

Write

At some point, that first draft needs to be written. Unfortunately, it won’t write itself. So pick up a pen or open your word processor of choice. Grab an idea and run with it.

Relax

Take a deep breath. You don’t have to get it right the first time. Try to silence your inner editor for now. You can always make a draft better, but you can’t if it doesn’t exist yet.

Editing

My Editing Process

I’ve edited essays until my eyes hurt, so I figured I’d break down my process to better understand how I operate. For those moments I don’t remember what to do when faced with a terrible first draft.

I tend to start from the beginning and work my way to the end. It seems the most logical to me.

I’m not sure where I’d even begin if I didn’t start with the first sentence. That being said, reading backwards is a good strategy to catch spelling mistakes.

When I’m on the computer, I make content changes. This involves cutting, rewriting, as well as moving ideas around. It’s just easier to copy and paste on a computer than on a phone.

I make edits to the content first before I get to the mechanics or the smaller but still significant details like grammar. Once I’m happy with the placement of each sentence, I move on to making everything sound better.

I almost always take a break to get away from my slightly-improved-but-still-needs-plenty-of-improvement essays. I think about anything else in the world not related to editing.

I come back with a fresher pair of eyes and a re-energized mind.

Then I do technical edits on my phone. It’s convenient because I bring my device with me everywhere I go, so I can access my essays all the time.

I play with words until I find the perfect one. Two seconds later, I resign myself to the fact that perfection is impossible. Again, I work in a chronological fashion.

I know I’m done when I try to change something but end up liking the original better. I came up with a new title once, but I ultimately went with the old one.

Editing is a time-consuming process. There aren’t any corners you can cut. Just do your best. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself when all is said and done.

Writing

So You Think You Can Write A Novel

So you think you can write a novel, huh?

You can.

It’s not going to be easy. But it’s possible.

You can do it. I believe in you. Do you believe in yourself?

When the going gets tough, don’t give up.

Remember it’s worth it. Finishing the first draft of a novel might be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your life.

If you take on the creative challenge, you’ll be tested every step of the way. Exciting, no?

When you want to quit, remember why you started. When you’re ready to give up, know that you’re closer to the end than you realize.

Sometimes you’ll think there’s so much work left to do, so many words you still have to write. Don’t forget to look back. See how far you’ve come. How proud you’ll be if you cross that finish line.

If I can, you most certainly can.
We’re at that point in July—I fondly refer to it as Camp NaNoWriMo—where I doubt my ability to write a novel, despite having done so already. In fact, I’ve written my share of them in my short lifetime. I say this as I’m about to turn twenty in one month’s time. I’m old, people.

Self doubt is such a crippling feeling. It kills more dreams than anything else in the world if you ask me.

My dream is to publish a novel. I can’t exactly do that when I have the devil that is self doubt breathing down my neck while I’m trying to write. Hello, rude.

So if you think you can’t write a novel, I know how you feel. I felt that way. Sometimes I still do.

It also took me two years, maybe even longer to finish my first.

Short breaks turned into extended vacations. I’m sure you understand.

For anyone out there who’s confident they can write a novel, I like your confidence. Can I have some?

Writing can really kill your self-esteem. On the other hand, it’s boosted my confidence like nothing else.

I hope after reading this post, you’ll feel better about your own ability to write a novel. If not, don’t worry, I have no plans to quit my day job.

Perhaps you’re 222% confident in your novel writing ninja skills. In that case, why are you still reading? Don’t waste your time on this sorry excuse for a blog.

Can you tell I’m self-deprecating to a fault?

I digress. I do often. I trust future Herminia to edit my ramblings by cutting every other word. And then cutting every other remaining word. 

She clearly didn’t do her job. 

Swriously though, do you think you have what it takes to start and finish a novel?

If you didn’t answer I’m the affirmative, I want to smack some sense into your head. Of course you can. You’re a writer. A competent one, completely able to scratch across 50,000 words in a month. Or whatever your word count is. 100,000 words are for non-humans and monkeys. 

I can’t wait to see what you’ll create. I have a feeling you can’t either.

Writing

Tips For Writing The First Draft

First drafts suck. But they have to exist in order to be bad. Still, a terrible first draft is better than a non-existent one any day of the week.

Here are my tips for tackling them.

  • Come up with a plan.
  • Know your purpose.
  • Prioritize your writing time.
  • Write first.
  • Edit later.
  • Silence your inner editor.
  • Make and meet deadlines.
  • Set goals, especially small ones.
  • Take enough breaks.
  • Have incentives.
  • Treat yourself to rewards. 
  • Rest, relax, recharge.
  • Continue to live your life.
  • Surround yourself with support.

Go forth and write that messy first draft. You can always make it better after you finish telling your initial story. 

Writing

My Essay Writing Process

  1. Freak out.
  2. Freak out some more.
  3. Start to brainstorm.
  4. Generate many ideas.
  5. Hate most ideas.
  6. Pick the best worst idea.
  7. Shrug once.
  8. Scrap said idea for a better one.
  9. Try to outline.
  10. Fail to outline.
  11. Attempt to write a first draft.
  12. Edit first draft before it’s written.
  13. Write enough words to meet the word count.
  14. Delete unnecessary words.
  15. Squint at word count.
  16. Write more words.
  17. Realize there are too many words.
  18. Kill my darlings.
  19. Submit the poorly written essay.
  20. Celebrate by crying.
Writing

First Drafts

They suck. But they don’t have to rot in a drawer or on a computer forever. They can get better. With time and work, they can become a sparkling story.

First drafts are first drafts for a reason.

Don’t stress about being perfect the first time around. Or even the tenth.

You don’t have to get it right on your first try. Unlike other things in life.

So write your first draft.

Put it aside.

Take your time.

Then come back to your initial draft.

Be ready to suffer.

Because you’re going to suffer.

Also, don’t put it aside and never come back either.

Your story deserves better.

You deserve better.

Writing

How Not To Write An Essay

How not to write an essay:

  • Change your thesis a million times
  • Write a first draft the day before it’s due
  • Submit a rough draft

How I write an essay:

  • Change your thesis a million and one times
  • Write a first draft the night before it’s due
  • Submit the very rough draft anyway