Write Life Saturday: how long does it take you to write a first draft?

A lot of you will have heard of the massive November writing event, NaNoWriMo. This event is where people write 50,000 words in the space of one month. In both 2012 and 2013, I surpassed the 50k and proceeded to finish the whole first draft. Yes I am bragging, even though MANY people did way better than that.

It’s a process which ranges from this:


To this:

If you’re not a writer (I know a lot of you aren’t!), writers are weird, okay? We range between loving to write and hating it, or at least I do. Sometimes I think something I write is pretty good, and then when I re-read it I’m like whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy did I think that was good???

But the GREAT thing about first drafts is that none of that matters. It’s going to be awful anyway, so why spend a long time on it?

I haven’t written that many first drafts, or not proper ones, anyway. Three were the result of a NaNo period – two during the Novembers and one during Camp NaNoWriMo July last year. The fourth was during two months before November, where I wrote about a thousand words a day, give or take.

And even at that kind of pace I’m all like:

^^^In fact I think this dude has the right idea.

But if I’m not pushing myself like that, I really tend to lack motivation. The second draft I’m working on now? Yeah, I started it at the end of 2013 and have written 33,000 words.

That’s okay! I’m happy with my progress. Because it’s not a first draft, it’s bound to take longer.

I think it’s important not to think too much during a first draft. If you start overthinking, you start censoring yourself – some of my best ideas seemed stupid to start with before I fleshed them out and they became things I still really like. Reading first drafts back is not fun. It’s actually kind of scary.


There is such a big different between each of my drafts, and I know that each one is better than the last. I also know that some people like to draft slowly, while others prefer to do it quickly (or ridiculously quickly, like a certain someone I know whose name I will not mention *cough*CAITDREWS*cough).

How long does it take you to write a first draft? I’d love to hear from you! I mean, maybe I’m doing it wrong. I’m not sure there’s a wrong way to write, though.