The thought of writing a story can be overwhelming.

Questions like, ‘How do I start? How do I express this idea? What style of writing should I use?’ will run through your mind. These questions are pointers that it’s time to begin your first draft. 

The first draft is also called a rough draft, in that it doesn’t have to be error-free. You are allowed to make mistakes because you have other drafts and opportunities to refine the work. 

It is advisable to have an outline to guide your writing before beginning your rough draft. Once your outline is ready, you’ll need to create a strategy for a seamless writing process.

Here are three tips to adopt as you write your first draft.

1. Follow your outline but be flexible:

Remember when we said a rough draft allows you to get your ideas out of your head? The first draft is an expanded form of your outline. At this stage, you are trying to expand your outline into something meaningful using what you have read and learnt from researching.

Stick to your outline but keep in mind that you may need to change the direction of your writing as you progress. If that happens, be willing to accept the change.

2. Don’t be stopped by mistakes:

Give room for mistakes and errors. Allow your mind to travel far and wide. Turn off your perfectionist button, because trying to verify your spellings or grammar while writing the first draft can become boring, and may kill your flow. You can flesh out and refine your idea to fit your style later.

3. Pace yourself:

Set deadlines that are attainable, and give yourself time to relax while writing. Make a schedule that does not put you under pressure. You can work with a daily timestamp. For example, dedicate 30 minutes to an hour daily to completing your first draft. To achieve the best result, do this in the most productive time of your day.

Most of the works you appreciate now all began with an outline and a rough draft. Allow yourself to explore stories and ideas without the pressure of getting it right with your first draft.

Now that you know how to write your first draft, what are you waiting for? It’s time to write.

Good luck!

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