Writing Tip #13-Drafting: How Do You Get The Manuscript Out Of Your Head And On The Page?

I love writing. I love teaching. I love teaching writing. I love listening to writers talk about their manuscripts. I love problem solving with writers. I love the delicacy and boldness of writing. These tips are things I’ve learned over the years that have held me in good stead and kept me going through the hard dry times. I hope they help you.

And hey, they are only a minute long. Click here.

Drafting is difficult for me. I can get maybe a hundred words on the page before my critical mind, who looks like Jabba The Hut by the way, starts asking, “is this the best word? Will this scene matter?” You get the idea. All judgment. No fun. So I’m always interested to hear how other writers draft their manuscripts. My friend, Anne Bustard says that drafting should be like playing in the sandbox. Kacen Callendar says that they draft late at night when their critical mind is too tired to make any comments. Jason Reynolds says he drafts very quickly. A whole novel in six months. What all of those tips have in common is that you have to get your critical mind out of the way so you can capture little bursts of brilliance while you’re exploring this new world. And having fun. How do you do it? Well I think it’s truly different for everyone. My tricks are doing long repetitive tasks that absorb my conscious mind so that my subconscious gets freed up. Taking a walk, a shower, a long drive. Sometimes vacuuming or washing dishes works. The point is to allow the subconscious mind, the bearer of story, the freedom to whisper, uninterrupted, to you. And then yes, write it down. Or record it. The minute Jabba appears, I stop. He’ll get his chance when it’s time to edit.