Cupcakes for Everyone! The First Draft Is Finished!

CupcakeOk, I can’t actually give everyone cupcakes, but that’s what my husband took me out for to celebrate finishing my latest first draft. Lucky for me he worked from home today! This is the cupcake I selected.

My followers know how much I hate writing a first draft. I had a particularly hard time with this one–until this week. I was getting close to the climax, and everything just clicked. As a result, I finished sooner than I expected, kicking out 3,000 words today to end up at 44,162 words total. I’m not sure I’d survive if I wrote YA or adult. Too many words to get through that draft!

So how does a first draft hater get through? I have to set goals. Using Scrivener, I set up an overall word count goal (45,000) and a time frame. Basically it called for me to write approximately 2,000 words per day. Making that writing goal was my first priority every day. It came before sending out new queries, working on this blog, critiquing, reading, and even paying freelance work.

And now it’s finished! That means I can move on to the important work of revising, which I love. I’m sure the revision process will give me many blog topics, but for now I’ll revel in the accomplishment of a finished draft.

What about you? Do you prefer drafting or revising? How do you celebrate milestones?

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About Michelle I. Mason

I'm a full-time writer, focusing mainly on middle grade and young adult fiction with some freelance PR writing and editing on the side. I'm also a wife, mom, Christian, violinist, avid reader and St. Louis Cardinals fan. And I watch way too much TV.
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14 Responses to Cupcakes for Everyone! The First Draft Is Finished!

  1. Andrea says:

    Congratulations! (And that cupcake looks very yummy). Thanks for sharing your goals that you set for yourself. I keep going back and forth – is it better to have a set number of hours to devote to a project per day, or a word count to complete. I like the word count because then you are guaranteeing to yourself that you will actually be filling your pages with X number of words each day, but on the flip side if it’s a day that the words just aren’t coming and there’s only so many hours in a day with a list of other things that have to get done, too, I tend to vacillate back to the number of hours. Your post is motivating, though. It’s good to have the mindset that you can’t do anything else until you’ve reached your writing goal for the day. Good job! Now, if only the phone would stop ringing, the dogs would stop barking, the kittens would stop trying to walk across my keyboard. . . .

    • I know from experience that the time goal doesn’t work for me. Having a word goal gives me something specific to work toward, and I know it’s contributing to the overall draft. I make myself get the words out, even if they’re awful. My first drafts have a lot of fluff that I know I’ll cut later, but at least I have that base to work from. Before I started doing it this way, I would totally stall out in the middle of a draft, go back and revise, and then it took me forever to move forward again. That being said, though, I know not everyone’s the same and that those distractions really affect your ability to meet your goals, whether time or words. Good luck!

  2. Deb Marshall says:

    Way to go!!!! I am so getting a cupcake in your honour, lol. I am a first draft person…the revisions. ACK. And you know, maybe I should make revision milestones and the reward? Buying a new notebook, pens or pencils? Great food for thought…heh heh.

    • Oh good! Make sure it’s an extra-delicious one :).

      I wonder if there’s anyone who loves the first drafts AND the revisions. Wouldn’t that be nice? I’m all for rewards. Hmm…how do you set milestones for revising? If you come up with something, let me know.

  3. CONGRATULATIONS, Michelle! Way to go! It’s a great feeling of accomplishment. And it IS a big accomplishment. It also sounds like you’re over the biggest hurdle if you love revisions so much. 😉

    I also set word or page goals as I’m drafting. And I do the same for revision goals: so many pages per day. Of course, sometimes that has to be revised because it can change once your in the thick of it. Some scenes that need work can take twice as long as you first think it will!

    I also make up a huge checklist of what I want to accomplish during the revision process (I even type it up and print it out so it’s right next to me to refer to) and it reminds me so I don’t forget plot points or things I want to add or delete – as well as it’s nice to check things off after I accomplish them. The visual goal setting and checking off is a big motivator!

    And I’ll take one of those gorgeous chocolate cupcakes, too! Yummy!

    • I haven’t thought about a revision goal list. One of the things I like about Scrivener is that I can put notes to the side of a chapter about what I want to fix there. I think I’ll start this time by just reading through and making those kinds of overall notes. You’re right about checklists, though. It sure does feel good to mark off those accomplishments.

      Enjoy your cupcake!

  4. Hooray for you! Now enjoy resting on your laurels/cupcakes for at least a couple of weeks before wading back in with the revision scalpel (which I bet you love!)

  5. Pingback: Practice Makes Perfect–Or At Least Closer to Perfect | Michelle Mason

  6. Don’t you just love the target daily word count feature on Scrivener? I used that this time around, too, and it was fantastic. I’m not sure I could go back to drafting in Word now (and not only because I’d miss that race to the daily finish line).

    • I’m so addicted to Scrivener. In addition to the word count goals, I also love the cork board. It makes it so easy to move scenes around. Plus, I don’t worry as much about the length of each scene when I don’t have page counts distracting me. It’s also great to have my research all in the same program. I definitely couldn’t go back to Word.

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