I used to be really good at bashing out first drafts. Back in the day when I was afflicted with delusions regarding my own talent, or lack of it, I could sit down quite happily and write a novel without thinking twice. My youthful exuberance was unhindered by worries of sentence structure, where to place commas and the elusive perfect word choice.
These days I’m older (much) and wiser (not so much) and write with both my thesaurus and grammar guide by my elbow. Every misjudged adjective irritates me and I still become perplexed by semi-colons. My inner editor is constantly frustrated by me. She knows I can do better if I’d only put my mind to it. She does not appreciate the need to actually get to the end of the first draft before it’s necessary to go back and make it pretty.
Here’s how I placate her –
Bribery – I have a daily word count and I meet it before I allow my inner editor to go back over what’s been written;
Ignorance – I try to never, ever start a writing session by re-reading what I finished the day before. Not until the first draft is done anyway;
Distraction – I mull over a scene before I sit down. I like finding the conflict in it or the aspect that gets me really excited. That way by the time my lap top has fired up I can’t wait to get going and find out what my characters want to do. Consequently my inner editor doesn’t notice if the sentences ramble slightly.
If all that fails then I make a cup of tea. Removing the inner editor from the source of her annoyance allows me to get some perspective and muster the strength to carry on.
Does anybody else have any tips? They’d be appreciated.