Writing An Ugly First Draft vs. Editing As You Go


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Writing an ugly first draft versus editing as you go? It’s a question all writers struggle with.

This is a fitting topic since we are smack dab in the middle of Camp NaNoWriMo, and since I haven’t weighed in yet, I’d like to do that now. Keep in mind that every writer has their own process, and every writer must do what works best for him or her. Although I am throwing my opinion out into the universe, that’s all it is. It’s just what works best with my process and how I work as a writer. But if this helps a fellow writer, then that’s great too.

Writing an ugly first draft is, for me, the way to go. I’ve got a few Camp NaNoWriMos under my belt, and the mentality of getting a certain number of words written in thirty days jives with how I work. Why? The hardest part, at least for me, is sitting down and getting the words out. During NaNoWriMo (held every November) or Camp NaNoWriMo (held every April and July), the idea is just to get the words out and onto the paper or the screen. That’s it!

This itty-bitty quote sums up writing the first draft nicely:

“Don’t get it right, just get it written.”

-James Thurber-

If you endeavor to write 50,000 words (or however many you choose) in thirty days, they don’t all have to be perfect. And the reason for that is summed up nicely by this quote:

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Jodi Picoult-

And really, who has the time to write a “perfect” novel in thirty days? It’s just not possible! But you can always go back and make it better. When you have the “bare bones” of your novel, you can then take all the time you need to get it just right.

And that’s what works best for me. I write my first drafts quickly and then take much more time revising and editing. Way more!

Now having said that, I admit that I “kinda” edit as I go along. I can’t stand a ton of typos staring back at me while I’m actively trying to write. It distracts me. And what if some typos are so bad that later when I go back to revise, I have no idea what I was trying to say? Luckily, I have Grammarly to catch typos, and what’s even better is that it only takes a click to correct them! Of course, Grammarly detects way more than typos, but I ignore those other things until I’m done with the first draft. Seriously, if you don’t have Grammarly, get it! Get. It. Now!

Keeping my inner editor at bay is difficult when I’m trying to bang out a first draft. I want to fix things like grammar issues on the spot, or I want to ponder over a plot point. I have yell to my inner editor to mind her business and press on. I will stop to make notes, either right in the document itself or in my writer’s notebook, about things I need to go back and fix later. For instance, the other day during my writing session, a character is mentioned briefly, and her mention has something to do with the past. The character herself is not an important part of the passage, but a holiday tradition that she started is important. I didn’t want to break my writing stride, so I used brackets to remind myself to go back and fix it later. I typed [female name] and kept on writing. I must use tricks like this to stay on task and get the words written! I might not love every word that I write, and yes, many things need to be fixed after the fact, and I’m okay with that. Editing at the same time as I write just slows me down too much!

I have gotten so much better over the last couple of years at getting first drafts written while trying to keep my inner editor from slowing me down. It didn’t come naturally for me, I had to learn what works for me and what doesn’t. Thankfully, I’ve met a lot of fellow writers through local groups and writing conferences and have picked up some great tips such as the one I mentioned above. Always keep your ears open for sage advice! And not necessarily just about writing!

So, that’s what works for me. Getting the first draft finished is most of the battle. You can’t perfect a manuscript if it’s unfinished or if it’s unwritten. So get those first drafts written, in whatever way works for you! In fact, that’s probably good life advice. Just get it done, in whatever way works for you!

Pinterest Mood Board for A Sky Full Of Stars

In celebration of A Sky Full Of Stars being out in both e-book and paperback, I thought I would share the Pinterest mood board I created while planning and writing the book.

I’ve been a Pinterest addict for years, so when I found out how useful it could be in my writing life, I was thrilled! It was fun to bring my characters to life with the many visuals available on the app. I not only found celebrity inspiration for the characters, but also the kinds of outfits they would wear, what music they would listen to, and quotes that would mean something to them. Writers are used to words as their medium, so bringing in visuals to support my words was so helpful and motivating. I will definitely do more mood boards in the future!

If you’d like to take a look at the mood board for A Sky Full Of Stars, click here. Happy browsing! And if you’d like to get a hold of a copy of my book, a link is on my homepage. Thanks for reading (and looking)!







A Sky Full Of Stars Paperback Cover!



This is the full paperback cover for A Sky Full Of Stars, and I love it! I have to give a shoutout to SelfPubBookCovers.com/vikncharlie for the beautiful design. If you’re a fellow indie author, I highly recommend SelfPubBookCovers.com! My experience with them has been wonderful.

My journey with this book is coming to an end since the paperback edition will be released soon. I have learned so much in the thirteen months since I wrote the very first (and very rough!) draft. I feel like I have grown so much as a person and a writer. Soon I will have to write a separate blog post about that!

I have two other unfinished manuscripts that will need my attention in the coming months, but A Sky Full Of Stars will always have a special place in my heart since it’s my first full-length novel. My biggest hope is that others enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!



Cover Reveal!

The cover reveal for my ebook, which is coming out this week! This great cover design is from selfpubbookcovers.com/vikncharlie.
I’m so excited for my book to finally be put out into the universe! A Sky Full Of Stars is a retelling of Pretty In Pink, one of my favorite movies of all time.

April Writerly Goals

I made my goals at the beginning of the month but I’m a little late posting them! I kept the goals to three since Camp NaNoWriMo is such a big commitment.

Last month’s goals were all met, which is great, but I’m most excited about finding a critique partner! I hope we have a long and mutually beneficial relationship!