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This blog was featured on 06/08/2019
How to Know When Your First Draft Is Finished
Written by
She Writes
June 2019
Written by
She Writes
June 2019

So you’ve been writing your book, blog post, screenplay, etc. for as long as you can remember. But how do you know when your first draft is officially finished and ready for editing? No one’s first draft is ever perfect but it’s important to hit a few marks before submitting your work or moving on to the editing phase.

  1. You have come to terms with the fact that this will be the worst version of your work. Before we suggest anything else, make sure your expectations for your first draft are reasonable. Everyone’s first draft is usually a mess and that’s OK. Realizing this early on will lift a major weight off your shoulders and make the drafting process a lot less stressful.

  2. The structure makes sense. When it comes time to edit your draft, proofreading is the easiest part so don’t worry about your comma use right off the bat. More importantly, take a step back from your first draft when you think it’s done and make sure the structure is solid. If the story, essay, script, etc. doesn’t make sense chronologically or you find plotholes or missing information, it’s a good idea to go back and fix those things now. You can always edit these sections later to beef them up, cut them down or transform them but in the first draft, you want to make sure that whoever reads it next won’t be confused.

  3. You can hear your voice throughout the draft. The one thing that makes you stand out from other writers is your unique voice and writing style. Upon reading your first draft, can you say that your voice shines through? Ultimately, you don’t want to move forward with a draft of anything if it doesn’t feel authentic to you.

  4. It makes sense to readers. Before sending your first draft to an editor or proofreader, make sure someone else has read it. Whether it’s your mom, your significant other or your next door neighbor, it’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion. Let the reader know that it’s nowhere near perfect and to let you know if any questions arise while reading. This way, you know that someone outside of yourself understands your story, thesis, etc.

  5. You feel a sense of accomplishment. Above all else, you’ll feel it in your gut when the first draft is fully complete. You’ve acknowledged the imperfections and know you’ve gotten everything important onto the page. Now put on your editor cap and get to work making your piece the best it can possibly be.

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