Let me start with this: The first draft’s hard, and the first line’s harder, but you can always go back and change it.
There are many reasons that people a) never start writing or b) stop writing – for me it’s usually the later. I’d get tired of the characters, get stuck on the boring bits of the storyline or even completely forget as I was inspired to start something new.
However, with this book I made a goal to finish – no matter what – before sitting down to the first chapter. It was that decision that has me in the middle of the my favorite part of writing – the re-drafting. I also believe there are several other reasons why I was able to finish my first draft:
I set aside time to write – and kept that time free from any other activities.
I created a basic storyline and developed several plot driving characters.
I used free writing. The lack of personal critiquing allowed me to keep interested.
I was constantly throwing events and obstacles with a goal to build my characters. This also allowed me to avoid the ‘boring bits’ I kept running into before.
I was aware that in the second draft many things would have to change, but the storyline would remain the same.
I finished the first draft in about three months. Five nights a week I would spend about three hours free writing while working at a bookstore in my hometown. I know how lucky I am for that job, I love that job.
I kept a notebook next to me to keep track of the scenes as they developed and ideas for future drafts. Every time I felt the old emotions that would usually be the end of a draft, I forced myself to continue. The same ways I usually find my muse helped me push through the slow moments. You can take another look at those tips here: Find Your Muse.
The point is: If you set aside the time, stick to your writing goals, don’t give up when it gets tough, and just write – you’ll find the strength to get through that first draft. If you can’t do that, then maybe you should re-think your book writing aspirations. Sometimes you have to give up your social life for your book, that is a fact. It’s also important to remember – at least from my experience – that the first draft’s the easy part.
Now, let me finish with this: The first draft’s hard, and the first line’s harder, but you can always go back and change it. Don’t judge it till the end – odds are you’ll change most of it and you’ll have grown so much as a writer that way you write may even change.
Good Luck on your First Drafts!