When it comes to drafting a novel, there is no one way to do it. Aside from the infamous, “hands on keyboard, ass in chair,” the how-to part is completely individual. Some people are “panters.” Some are “planners.”
I’m usually a member of the latter party, but I like to think I blend the techniques. I have a rough outline and then I write, changing up my outline as I go. It’s a kind of controlled chaos. My current drafting is something a touch different than the panter/planner dichotomy. What I struggle with is when to revise.
Not revising while I’m working on a rough draft is my greatest downfall. Now I’m not condemning revise-while-you-write. There are some folks who do amazingly with that. I am not one of them. But I want to be. It’s something about being a Virgo, I think, that perfectionist streak. It’s even worse when I show people my unedited drafts.
The solution to my problem is quite simple. Just keep writing.
Not really. You see, writing is something you do alone. And after a while, you start to crave feedback,so you show your messy draft. And the feedback comes. Usually, it’s right and good, but in the middle of drafting, I need cheerleaders, not critics. Afterwards, that’s another story.
So my challenge, to myself and anyone else working on that first draft, is to keep writing without looking back. Finish that damn novel! No excuses. No letting your head editor even look at it until the end.