Indie Author Weekly

063: 3 tips for writing your first draft (and working on rewrites)

June 09, 2020 Sagan Morrow Episode 64
Indie Author Weekly
063: 3 tips for writing your first draft (and working on rewrites)
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Indie Author Weekly
063: 3 tips for writing your first draft (and working on rewrites)
Jun 09, 2020 Episode 64
Sagan Morrow

Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. I’m currently working on rewrites and edits for my upcoming romantic comedy, Her Bad Idea, which is Book 7 in the Polyamorous Passions series. You can learn all about that series and read those books on your favourite e-bookstore, or visit SaganMorrow.com/books

While I was reviewing Her Bad Idea and starting to do the rewrites, some thoughts came to mind that I wanted to share with you. Consider this a little writing pep talk! These are a few good reminders to think about when you are writing your first draft of a book, and then starting to work on the rewrites. 

There are 3 points I want to make today… TUNE IN to this episode for 3 tips for writing your first draft (and working on rewrites). 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. I’m currently working on rewrites and edits for my upcoming romantic comedy, Her Bad Idea, which is Book 7 in the Polyamorous Passions series. You can learn all about that series and read those books on your favourite e-bookstore, or visit SaganMorrow.com/books

While I was reviewing Her Bad Idea and starting to do the rewrites, some thoughts came to mind that I wanted to share with you. Consider this a little writing pep talk! These are a few good reminders to think about when you are writing your first draft of a book, and then starting to work on the rewrites. 

There are 3 points I want to make today… TUNE IN to this episode for 3 tips for writing your first draft (and working on rewrites). 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello friends! Sagan here. Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. I’m currently working on rewrites and edits for my upcoming romantic comedy, Her Bad Idea, which is Book 7 in the Polyamorous Passions series. You can learn all about that series and read those books on your favourite e-bookstore, or visit SaganMorrow.com/books

While I was reviewing Her Bad Idea and starting to do the rewrites, some thoughts came to mind that I wanted to share with you. Consider this a little writing pep talk! These are a few good reminders to think about when you are writing your first draft of a book, and then starting to work on the rewrites. 

There are 3 points I want to make today….

First, your initial draft is solely for getting your ideas on paper. 


It’s not about getting it perfect. It’s not even about getting it “good enough!” That first draft is just about taking the ideas out of your head and putting them on paper. That means that it doesn’t matter how awkward your sentences are, or how quote-unquote “bad” your writing is… because in a future draft, you can rewrite and edit it again and again to make sure it’s exactly what you want it to be. 

Your writing probably won’t be great in that first draft. Your storytelling might have huge gaping holes. That’s more than okay! That’s NORMAL. Get your ideas out there in the first draft. In a future draft, you can polish it up. But polishing it up is NOT AT ALL what the first draft is for. 

Whenever I remind myself about this, I find it very liberating. Because sometimes—in fact, often—you’ll write something in the first draft and have a cringey moment. You’ll think to yourself, “yikes, that is really poorly worded.” Or you’ll think, “wow, that sentence structure is a mess.” But when you remember that you are at the stage of just getting your ideas on paper, that can give you the boost you need to keep moving forward, rather than doubting yourself. 

Trust yourself that in a future rewrite, you will fix all those awkward sentences. 

Okay, so that’s the first part of this writing pep talk I want to give you today. 

The second point I want to note is this: one sentence can make ALL the difference for tying everything together in a scene, or between scenes. 

For example, when I first wrote a draft of Her Bad Idea, it didn’t make sense as to why the heroine Scarlett would act out of character in a particular scene. But it just took one sentence to provide some quick backstory which suddenly helped everything make more sense. 

If you don’t understand a character’s motivations, you don’t necessarily need to expand on this huge backstory, or add extra scenes or chapters to get into the nitty gritty. In fact, sometimes the simplest explanations are the most natural. We all act out of character from time to time in real life, based on what we’re thinking or what just happened earlier that day. Your characters likely respond similarly. 

There have been many times over the course of my Polyamorous Passions series that I’ve struggled to figure out what happens in between a couple scenes, and then I realize… there’s no need to dive into that. A simple sentence or short paragraph can bridge that gap. 

Personally, I strive to leave my readers wanting more. I want my readers to finish my book and think, “oh, I loved XYZ scene so much that I wish it were longer; I wish Sagan would have expanded on it.” To me, that’s the goal, is that my readers always want more! Plus, when I know which specific scenes they want me to build on, I can absolutely include that expanded scene in my future book of short stories featuring Polyamorous Passions characters, for example. And that’s fun, because then it starts to feel like a collaborative process between me and my readers! 

Really, to me, the worst thing would be for readers to get bored with a book. I never want my readers to get to the point where they don’t finish my books. I don’t want them to get bored. I want to leave them wanting more. 

The third note I want to make in today’s writing pep talk is this: rephrasing things can make your writing so much stronger. 

For example, in my first draft of Her Bad Idea, I wrote this line: “I’ll call you when I have the choreography all figured out.” And then, in the rewrites, I changed that sentence to read, “I’ll call you when I figure out the choreography.” 

In another example, I wrote “without another glance back,” and in the rewrites, I changed that sentence to “without a backward glance.” 

You can see that the general gist of the idea is there in both of these examples of the first sentence, but that the second version is cleaner and reads better. So if you’re frustrated with your writing or storytelling in that first draft, don’t worry! A simple rephrasing of sentences here and there can strengthen it considerably.   

By the way—if you want more examples of other sentences that I restructured, I’m sharing more than a dozen of them on the secret version of the podcast at SaganMorrow.com/secretpodcast. Hopefully that will help give you some ideas when you’re reworking sentences in your own writing, regardless if you write fiction or non-fiction. 

Okay, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this writing pep talk. To recap, those three reminders when you’re working on your first draft & rewriting your story include: 

  1. Your initial draft is solely for getting your ideas on paper. 
  2. One sentence can make ALL the difference for tying everything together in a scene, or between scenes. 
  3. Rephrasing things can make your writing so much stronger.

If you’d like to learn more about Her Bad Idea and read the previously published books in the series, visit SaganMorrow.com/books, or search Polyamorous Passions on your favourite e-bookstore. 

And if you want to get some additional resources for how to improve your writing, then I recommend tuning into Episode 59 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast for a few of my favourite books. 

Now, I would love to hear your thoughts on today’s little pep talk: Did these reminders help you with your own writing? Has it changed your approach to writing a first draft and working on rewrites? 

Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram, @Saganlives, to chat about it! And you can send me a message on either of those platforms if you have requests for future episode topics, too. The more you tell me what you’d like to see more of on this podcast, the better that I can accommodate that. You can also submit your questions or topic ideas anonymously at SaganMorrow.com/question

If you enjoyed this episode, please take 2 minutes to share this podcast on social media and subscribe and rate it on Apple Podcasts—any time you share it or leave a rating or review, it helps more listeners find the Indie Author Weekly podcast, so every bit counts! I really appreciate your support.

By the way, you can access complete word-for-word transcripts of this episode and all past episodes, plus sample chapters of my books and a few other bonuses and goodies, on the “secret” version of this podcast. Get access to all of that at SaganMorrow.com/secretpodcast.

Thanks so much for tuning in to the Indie Author Weekly podcast, and I will see you in the next episode.