THE FIRST DRAFT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT
The first draft is the real thing, so write as succinctly as possible in your natural style. And keep it snappy and moving. Every sentence must extend the point of each passage without lagging in any way. Face it, writing is harder than ever before because everyone is currently bombarded with information from every angle and has a very short attention span. We are all in “scan mode” most of the time. We consume writing to get the information we need as fast as we can.
Remember that your sentences must make perfect sense to you as you write them. And the rule of keeping up your momentum also applies to writing the actual book. If you “second guess” what you write, and you go back and change it, the draft will never seem coherent. As in editing, just make a note of some change or addition that you want to go back and consider later, and move on.
Again, seek to write it logically and pointedly, until the piece reaches its natural conclusion.
SORRY, REWRITING IS NECESSARY
All writers hate rewrites. But it helps to think of them as just long edits. Your second and yes, other subsequent drafts are important and require a shift in perspective. After the first draft, you must now evaluate your work as a reader would.
Here’s what I mean: View your second draft as though you were a reader reading it for the first time. And don’t be bothered by the alarm you feel at how horribly incomplete and rough it is. That’s always the case with everyone’s first draft.
Just plod through it again and do the things that come to you, as a reader, which are necessary to make it clearer and more complete. And once again, obey the rule of momentum. Don’t go backward.
Continue this with successive drafts until you have it as complete as possible. But resist the idea that it is finished altogether. There is one more step I would advise taking.
TEST YOUR WORK WITH THE PUBLIC
Most people realize that early renditions of a movie are frequently tested with movie audiences. Producers advertise a free viewing, fill up a theater, show the movie and then ask the audience to fill out an opinion sheet to get feedback. Then they make changes to the movie according to the viewers opinion. The same kind of testing can be done with your writing — in an informal way. After I had considered The Celestine Prophecy finished, I tested it by letting dozens of people read the manuscript over the course of a year. I couldn’t believe the instances where people complained that a passage was unclear or insufficiently explained or needed a different placement in the book. These were places where they got lost and tended to quit reading.
I agreed with most of the complaints and fixed every one of them until the feedback I was getting was the one you want: “Can I keep this copy for a friend to read.” Or, “Can I have an extra copy. My brother wants to read it.”
Now you are at the final step, getting your writing out in the world. For me the easiest decision with “The Celestine Prophecy” was to form my own publishing company and get the book out that way. But currently there are all kinds of ways to get your foot in the door. So for that I will just refer you to the experts. Dozens of books and articles on the subject can now be found on the internet and here on Celestine Vision. I recommended a few that I like very much below.
I’ll just leave you with one last point. If you really want to write, be persistent. Keep at it until you get that “million dollar” idea that will help and inform the world. And remember, if you are truly seeking to be helpful, that “right” idea will come!
Writing is a lonely task, but in few other areas of life can one solitary endeavor, worked on for months or years, later go on to change lives forever… especially your own. I’m a living example.
To learn more, listen to these CV Podcasts:
The Writing Process – Beginning To Flesh Out Your Ideas In An Outline
The Writing Process – Getting Your Ideas To The Page
The Writing Process – Publicity: Getting The Book Into The Reader’s Hands