Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Famous Authors' Advice on Writing First Drafts by J.Q. Rose #writing #firstdrafts #writingtips



Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog! I'm your host, JQ Rose. 

Practice, practice practice. I bet you heard that when you were a kid whether it was to practice the piano, throwing and catching a baseball, shooting free throws, driving the car, or ice skating. 

We seem to continue practicing all our lives. When we were kids our parents or coaches or someone was always telling us to practice. Now we are grown-ups and can decide if we want to practice or not.

Have you noticed when you focus on practicing something you are passionate about your skill improves? 

How about cooking? I've come a long way from only knowing how to fry a hamburger and open a can of green beans when I was first married. Now that I have time, I have "practiced" cooking and trying out new recipes, especially with produce from our garden. I love this new found passion, so I am practicing a lot.

Yesterday, I tried a recipe for stir-fried snow peas. Yes, I've made stir fries, but this one had some new ideas. I was very proud of myself when the recipe tasted fine even if I did have to substitute items listed in the ingredients. Since I am now a more confident cook, I was brave enough to try it.

Writing stories is something that takes practice. Don't expect to write a masterpiece with your first draft. It's going to be ugly, trust me. Every first draft is!

Neil Gaiman has good advice for writers dealing with their first drafts.

“For me, it’s always been a process of trying to convince myself that what I’m doing in a first draft isn’t important. One way you get through the wall is by convincing yourself that it doesn’t matter. No one is ever going to see your first draft. Nobody cares about your first draft. And that’s the thing that you may be agonizing over, but honestly, whatever you’re doing can be fixed…For now, just get the words out. Get the story down however you can get it down, then fix it.” — Neil Gaiman

Fix it is the best advice. Yes, you can fix it. 

“Good stories are not written. They are rewritten.” — Phyllis Whitney

Some writers become obsessed with the opening line of the story. Not the first draft or the first chapter, but the first line. Then they become paralyzed and cannot move on. You too?

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” — William Faulkner

After writing five novels, countless short stories, non-fiction articles and books, I can understand how scary it can be. Sitting at your desk facing that blank screen or empty lines on a sheet of paper is daunting. But---

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box, so that later, I can build castles.”  — Shannon Hale

Yes, you can write it. You also do not need to share it with anyone else. You are the only person who will read it. So? Why not begin?

If you are anything like me and many other writers, that first line or first chapter will have to be changed by the time you complete your story or book or article. So don't agonize over it.

Please remember that practice is important in writing. Every time you write, you are strengthening your writing muscles. You are learning your art.

Embrace your passion for telling stories or informing readers about a topic you love. Have fun with your writing. 

If you would like to read 26 encouraging quotes from famous writers about first drafts, click here for the link to the article at the Writing Routines website.

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About J.Q.Rose

Whether the story is fiction or non-fiction, J.Q. Rose is “focused on story.”  She offers readers chills, giggles and quirky characters woven

Author JQ Rose

within the pages of her mystery novels. Her published mysteries are Deadly Undertaking, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard and Dangerous Sanctuary released by Books We Love Publishing.  

Using her storytelling skills, she provides entertainment and information in articles featured in books, magazines, newspapers, and online magazines. With her non-fiction book for girls, Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, she returned to her first love, writing about real people. J.Q. taught elementary school for several years and never lost the love for teaching passed down from her teacher grandmother and mother. She satisfies that aspect of her character by presenting workshops on Creative Writing and Writing Your Life Story and creating a book for life storytelling, Your Words, Your Life Story, based on her workshops. JQ decided to take the advice she gives to her workshop participants to sit down and write their stories. BWL Publishing released her memoir, Arranging a Dream, in January 2021.

Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She and her husband spend winters in Florida and summers up north with their two daughters, two sons-in-law,  four grandsons, one granddaughter, three grand dogs, four grand cats, and one great-grand bearded dragon.

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Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, practicing writing helps us improve as a writer. I loved the quotes, especially the Phyllis Whitney and Shannon Hale ones.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Practicing makes a difference - that's why I practice my guitar playing every single night.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Natalie, Check out the link to the article for a LOT more inspiring quotes. Thanks for stopping in.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Alex, Hey, I'd love to hear you play some songs on your guitar. Keep practicing!!

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