“All first drafts are shit.”

 – Earnest Hemingway

“Write down everything that happens in the story, and then in your second draft make it look like you knew what you were doing all along.”

 – Neil Gaiman

Separation of Concerns

No matter how you write, you must, at some point, separate writing from editing, separate creative thinking from critical thinking. They are both essential skills that improve with practice, but they often don’t mix well, especially for beginning writers. Remain creative and silence your inner critic often to get through that first draft.

If completing that first draft still feels daunting, try breaking it down into smaller pieces and keeping your writing sessions short with modest word-count goals.

Trusting Your Instincts

You must also, at some point, separate think from know. If you have one detail, one character voice, one plot turn that haunts you, if you know instinctively that it could work, that it could evoke emotion, then stick with it. Remain open to change about other elements of your story until they rise to the same level.