Ask Me! Do it! Writing a Rough Draft

In both coaching and consulting, I know many of my clients struggle most with writing the first draft. This is difficult no matter what you’re writing – press release, marketing materials or fiction. That’s why I chose this as the second question to answer in my new series of answers to my most commonly asked questions.

How can I make writing a first draft less painful?

Writing a first draft is always going to hurt a little. It’s making something out of nothing and that’s hard work! But you don’t need to make it harder than it needs to be. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re staring at that blinking cursor.

  • Quantity not quality. You can’t fashion a masterpiece from a thimble-full of clay. Unless, I guess, you’re into really little art. So write a whole bunch. Set your sites on word count, not polish and when you think you’re done, write 100 words more.
  • Use the right brain for the job. Writing takes both sides of the brain. But not at the same time. When writing your first draft, your creative brain is better at generating ideas and you need those to give your content legs. Your creative brain is also sensitive to being criticized. So turn off your editor and let creativity go to work.
  • Take a break. After all that, you need a break. Some people think taking a break between drafts makes you lazy. I’d argue no way. In fact, having time to take two days off between drafts requires planning, discipline and the strategic foresight to honor the process. Take two days off and I promise, when you come back you’ll be able to work faster and more efficiently at turning your clay into art. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Still need more help? I offer coaching on business writing and other writing too. Visit my coaching and teaching page to find out more.