First draft anxiety is a common struggle for new fiction writers. The prospect of putting your ideas onto paper can be daunting, especially if you’re unsure where to start. But the ability to express yourself creatively is a valuable skill that can have numerous personal and professional benefits. If you’re a first-time writer looking to improve your confidence in writing, then this post is for you.
Embrace the Idea Stage
It’s essential to remember that the idea stage doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect. The idea stage is an opportunity to experiment, embrace curiosity, and take risks that can lead to a more imaginative and exciting story. Ultimately, the idea stage is about giving yourself permission to explore and experiment with your writing. It’s about nurturing your creativity and trusting your instincts as a writer.
How to do this:
- You can have several iterations of your ideas before settling on one that feels right
- Work through different ideas and scenarios to explore the possibilities of the story
- Find the unique approaches to the work that feels good.
- Embrace the idea stage and committing to the writing process to tackle the fear of the first draft
- Take a deep breath, let go of your fear, and dive headfirst into the idea stage of your writing journey.
Remember, every writer starts somewhere, and every first draft has room for improvement.
Find Clarity in the Big Picture
Finding clarity in the big picture can help you stay motivated throughout the writing process. By having a clear sense of the overall story, writers can remind themselves why they’re writing in the first place and what they hope to achieve through their work. Having this clarity can help you identify the themes and messages you want to convey through your work. With this clear sense of the big picture, you can ensure that your work is focused and purposeful, with each scene, chapter, and character contributing to the story’s overall message. Overall, this is an essential tool for any writer looking to produce their best work and make a lasting impact on readers.
Embrace Play and Experimentation
Embracing play and experimentation can lead to unexpected and exciting story developments. When you give yourself the freedom to try new things, you may stumble upon plot twists or character arcs that they hadn’t considered before. These discoveries can add depth and complexity to the story and make it more engaging for readers. By letting go of perfectionism and allowing for play, writers can create works that are rich with surprises and imaginative elements.
Play and experimentation are not just about having fun – they can also be valuable tools for problem-solving. When you hit a creative block or find yourself stuck with a particular aspect of their story, play and experimentation can help you find solutions. By trying out different angles or approaching the problem in a new way, you may be able to break through the obstacle and move forward with your story. In this sense, the playful, experimental mindset becomes an essential part of a writer’s toolkit, enabling you to tackle challenges and produce their best work.
Don’t be Afraid of a Terrible First Draft
Don’t bog yourself down with the need for perfection in your first draft. Get the words out, and then take that draft to refine and produce something of some quality. Pay attention to story structure, pacing, character development, and other elements that are important to crafting a compelling narrative. Identify key themes and ideas and communicate those clearly.
The more you practice writing these first drafts, the easier it will become, and the less terrifying it will be to take on new writing projects in the future.
Start Small with Short Stories
Short stories also offer a platform for writers to explore different genres and themes, helping them find their niche within the literary world. By experimenting with different genres and styles, you can discover your strengths and interests, developing a unique voice that resonates with readers. Short stories also offer a unique opportunity to address timely and relevant themes that may not fit within the scope of a full-length novel. By addressing these themes in a condensed format, you can craft powerful narratives that leave a lasting impact on readers.
The process of writing and revising short stories requires dedication and consistency, helping writers develop good writing habits that can be applied to longer pieces of work. By setting small and achievable goals, you can build momentum and establish a cadence that makes writing a regular part of you lives. Furthermore, by seeking feedback and critique from writing groups, you can refine your writing style and grow as a writer, creating more polished and engaging stories with each new piece.
Tanya Gough, a multifaceted talent with experience in a range of fields, including ESL teaching, retail store ownership, and digital marketing, has now established herself as the founder of Story Builder, a creative writing platform designed for new and aspiring writers. With a passion for middle-grade fantasy fiction and science-infused fantasy short stories for adults, Tanya’s diverse background showcases her expertise in various industries. As a guest on the Write Publish Sell podcast, she shares invaluable writing tips for first-time fiction writers, encouraging them to embrace the importance of play in the writing process and to accept that the first draft will not be perfect.
With these tools, you can face your fears head-on and start writing with confidence. Always trust in your abilities and don’t be afraid to take risks or make mistakes along the way. Remember, great writers don’t wait for inspiration, they create it themselves. So go ahead, start that first draft, and let your creativity soar!