In the past, we’ve covered the signs that you were ready to graduate beyond the pre-writing and planning stage of the writing process. BUT! It’s one thing to realize that you’re ready to start drafting a novel, and a totally different thing when you’re actually writing your story. 


I know taking that first step is the hardest part. 


Translating your outlines, character sketches, mind maps, research notes into a workable story can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task. 


Nothing makes you forget words like the blinking cursor on your word processor or a fresh page in your notebook. It’s like, wut r werds ajsdfahipiw;enoflmalkjsdf??!


And then, all the sudden, it’s wayyy easier to quit and decide that you’d have better luck training your cat to walk on a leash. So, you go do that instead of drafting a novel.


I know you’re not about that life, dear writer. Neither am I. 


That said, here are the freaking-greatest tips that I have to help you as you begin (and continue) drafting a novel. Dude, you got this.


(Know that while I talk about drafting a novel, these tips are relevant to any kind of writing you do. The drafting process is the same for every kind of writing, and the advice you find here will help you navigate through it allIt doesn’t matter if you’re drafting a novel, a short story, a poem, writing a song, etc..)


 Click through to learn 7 genius writing tips that will help you with drafting a novel. Learn essential writing advice, and breeze through the first draft of your story. Writing Tips | Writing Advice | Drafting | Storytelling | Write a novel | creative writing | #amwriting #writingadvice



Start drafting a novel with small writing goals

When you begin drafting a novel, set a timer for only a few minutes or set small word count goals. Something like 200 words a day. Or writing for 15 minutes without stopping.
This serves two purposes. First, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by the drafting stage if you break it into manageable chunks. Second, it helps to build your writing stamina. 
Everyone is different, and some people advocate writing fast drafts (where you write in bursts of thousands of words at a time). This is fine. For real. BUT! Know that the people who write fast drafts have taken the time to develop their writing stamina.
From my experience teaching creative writing in a classroom, I’ve found that many new writers get it in their heads that they’re going to write a huge amount, and then they write a couple of hundred words, get distracted and antsy, and need to take a break. They then fall into the trap of believing that needing a break means that they are incapable of writing. 
That’s a ~lie~. 
Writing is like learning to jog. No runner will ever advise new joggers to run six miles without first building up their stamina. They tell them to learn to jog for a minute without stopping and then go two minutes without stopping. 

Train yourself to think about your story while you do brainless tasks

You know what I’m talking about. Instead of debating the tastiness of regular noodles vs. veggie/zucchini noodles (uggghhh) while you wash dishes, think about your characters and their world. 
This keeps your brain focused on your story and always in a state of exercising your creative thinking muscles. It will take you less time to get in the ideal “writing zone” when you start drafting a novel. You’re less likely to hit a block if you spread your creative thinking throughout the day.

Want a strong start as you begin drafting a novel?

Click the button below to access my free Resource Library full of writing exercises, worksheets, e-books, and writing challenges that will help you write captivating stories. 

click here to access the resource library and grab tons of free writing resources worksheets, e-books, writing guides, and tutorials.


Read books in the same genre you’re writing in


Doing this lets you:

  1. Take a productive break from writing (because you’re brain is still existing and thinking about a specific genre of writing).
  2. Study how others write in your genre, and find inspiration and solidarity. It tells you that you’re not alone as you work on drafting a novel. If ~this~ person can write a sweeping, generational, sci-fi about the secret lives of first monkeys launched into space, so can you.
  3. You can practice your critical reading skills and learn about your genre.


Write a rough draft before you start ~seriously~ drafting a novel


A behind-the-scenes look into my writing process:

Let me tell you a secret. For everything I write, I start with a rough draft, then I write a pre-first draft, and then I write a ~real~ first draft. They all suck. I don’t share my rough draft or my pre-first draft with anyone. EVER. I will talk to my trusted writing buddies and hash out my ideas, and I might share a snippet of what I have, but I’ll never give them the whole thing. 
It has nothing to do with shame or fear. By letting myself write crap that I know no one will ever see, I give myself space to make mistakes and experiment with new ideas and writing styles. 

Drafting a novel isn’t about being a ~literary genius~

Don’t waste energy worrying about having the perfect descriptions or writing realistic dialogue when you’re drafting a novel. This is a ~serious~ waste of time during the drafting stage. Stressing about these things are what you do in the editing and revising stage of the writing process.
Many people try to merge these stages of writing together. But guys! They’re two totally different stages of writing. You need to separate them and focus on one thing at a time to do it right. 
The drafting stage is all about getting your ideas on paper. That’s it. Get it all out of your head and down on paper. Don’t get hung up on minor grammar tweaks, word choice, filter words—none of it!—until you’ve finished drafting a novel. You can do all these ~literary~ things in the editing and revision stage of writing.


Want a strong start as you begin drafting a novel?

Click the button below to access my free Resource Library full of writing exercises, worksheets, e-books, and writing challenges that will help you write captivating stories. 

click here to access the resource library and grab tons of free writing resources worksheets, e-books, writing guides, and tutorials.


Try to write something everyday

This goes back to building your writing stamina. I’m not saying you need to work on drafting a novel every. Single. Day. But that you should write something-anything for a few minutes. 
Don’t stress if you fall into writer’s block. There will be days when you just can’t write your story. That’s okay. Take a walk outside and write about what you see. Just don’t give up. Your writing slump will pass. I promise. 
If you’re not feeling it with your story one day, try some writing exercises that will keep your creative muscles moving. They’ll keep you fresh so that when you are ready to return to drafting a novel, there will be no readjustment period where you need to retrain your creative thinking abilities.

Keep a journal or notepad by your bed

Ever feel like your best ideas for plot twists or dialogue come to you just as you fall asleep or right when you wake up? You are not alone, dear writer. I feel like I’ve lost so many ideas that would help me with my story in that twilight time when I’m half asleep. 
I used to keep my journal on my nightstand, but then I realized that I was usually too comfy to reach over and grab my notebook. I take my sleep seriously. So I took it to the next level. I put some Velcro on the back of a cheap notepad and attached it to the headboard of my bed. I did the same to a pencil. Now when I have a brilliant idea that will help me with drafting my novel, all I need to do is lift my arms above my head and scribble it down. Easy-peasy. 


There you have it! Remember these tips while your drafting your novel, and you’ll be unstoppable!


Join the conversation!


Were you surprised by any of these writing tips? Do you have something to add? Leave a comment below, or reach out to me on Twitter (@miraculiz). I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Get your free Descriptive Writing & Imagery Worksheet by entering your info!

You are half way there! Please complete this form and click the button below to gain instant access to your free resource.

Success! Check your email--your imagery worksheet is on the way!

Ready to write captivating stories that readers can't put down?

Join countless others and get access to my free library of worksheets, e-books, and resources for writers.

Awesome! Check your email—the password to the resource library is on its way!