So you want to craft some fiction or poetry and you’ve got ideas brewing, but you’re struggling with how to get them out of the concept stage and onto the page. Maybe you blew through 50,000 words (or more) this past NaNoWriMo and you’re feeling some serious brain drain. Thankfully, we’ve got some tips to help you jump-start your creativity. If you’re contending with a wicked case of writer’s block or just need a little extra nudge, try our advice to help the ideas pour out of your head.
1. Tell Your Inner Critic to F*ck Off
There are times where you need an honest eye to review the fiction, poems or other work you’ve already generated. Married with a willingness to “kill your darlings” (yes, we know you’ve seen that phrase A LOT, but stay with us), the two can serve as a powerful combo to help you revise and refine down to your best work.
However, those aren’t the tools you need while you’re furiously trying to channel your ideas from the amphitheater of your mind to a blank screen.
Many writers strive to impeccably capture everything in that first go. In these cases, the inner critic can
“red-flag” every word choice, image or piece of dialogue in your fiction, or every line break, metaphor, simile or rhyme in your poems. The first draft ISN’T the time for perfect; it’s the time to bring your ideas into reality. You can do the other hard work of revising and rewriting later. Seriously.
2. Your First Drafts Are NOT Crap
The famous axiom that one’s first draft is always “crap” is usually attributed to Hemingway. Whoever said it probably wanted to either 1) emphasize the importance of revision or 2) drive home the point that whatever you put down first doesn’t have to be perfect.
Well, guess what? Whether it’s novel-length fiction, poetry, short stories or anything else, the very first things you write will be imperfect. But that doesn’t mean they’re crap.
Maybe you’ve had a well-meaning fellow writer parroting the idea, or a writing instructor insisting it was gospel truth. (We’d like to give that instructor a piece of our minds, but we digress.) Right now, it’s time to forget that “helpful advice.” Let your fingers fly over the keys or the page. Think of that output as simply the rough and unpolished beginnings of something beautiful, with raw potential living inside the text.
We offer this advice to help your first drafts take form in the here and now. Stay tuned for more writing tips, and don’t forget to check out the AutPress store’s latest releases like Verity Reynolds’ Nantais and Ada Hoffman’s Monsters in My Mind.