Schedule a Play Date (Tip for Book Drafting)

I do not like writing the first draft. Of anything. At all.

Luckily for me, it seems the first draft is really the smallest writing task. Especially when compared to the hours required for global rewrites, line edits, copyedits, cover creation, formatting, and marketing.

BUT: Over the past few months, I did discover a first-draft technique that’s helped. A lot.

I’ve been working on my current WIP during the day (for the past several months, this has involved a lot of copyediting and revising). And at night, I give myself play time.

That’s right–I curl up with my dog and a cup of tea and the laptop, and put on some sort of banal TV I won’t pay too much attention to. And then I play with some idea that’s intrigued me. I write sample chapters or an outline. Random passages. I just tease out the idea.

By the time I get done copyediting one book, I can then take my playtime draft and begin to revise and reorganize and tidy it up…do the revision work I prefer. And when night rolls around, I can play with yet another idea.

The thing is, the playtime at night doesn’t really feel like work–I don’t have any kind of deadline or need to get any number of words down. I’m just messing with this thing at this point. It’s all idea generation. (I LOVE brainstorming, by the way. Just don’t like the initial draft.)

I’m finding the feeling of play really helps the writing–adds a new kind of life to the pages.

Try it out–schedule your own play date. Could be at night, maybe during lunch. Or schedule one day a week as a play date. Just to mess with some idea you’ve had in your head a while. Maybe a poem. Or a picture book. A short story. Just go for it. See what happens. Maybe nothing. Maybe something that you never would have had otherwise.

I mean, we got into this because writing was fun, right? It should always be fun…

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