The First Draft Is Written For Your Strong Win

The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.  ― Terry Pratchett

Rescuing lost stories is both compelling and intimidating.  There is nothing more frightful to a writer than a blank screen with a short deadline looming.  I have for over five years posted a BLOG every week, except the three weeks I was out of commission dealing with version D of the virus.  

Granted some weeks I recycle BLOGs, but even this requires a certain amount of time and effort.  This is a weekly commitment I have made to myself and those who follow my BLOG.  To keep this commitment, I play some mind games with myself using the power of the first draft. 

The Power Of The First Draft

I have a system, of sorts, that helps.  It consists of three basic steps:

  1.  My Idea Bucket.  I have a pool of ideas that I capture in the draft section of my BLOG.  This ranges from a couple of words in a headline to several bullet points.  Since I can access this via my iPhone, I can make an entry when an idea pops into my head.   I have learned to pass these moments by, and have found it only takes a minute or two to grab the inspiration.
  2. The First Draft.  This is where the empowerment comes in.  When I write the first draft I do it for me.  Yes, I think of my audience – later, but to get going I “pretend” no one but me will ever see this.  That takes all the intimidation out.  I can note where and what to research later, use poor grammar, and ignore spell check.  It’s very freeing.
  3.  The Final Draft.  Ideally. this step is done at least a day after the first draft.  Sometimes (like today) I must compress these three steps into one sitting, as I am up against a deadline.  We have just returned from a trip and I have been scrambling to do all those after-trip things that need doing.   Thus my normal early-in-the-week writing time has been pushed to, well, now.  

The First Draft Trickfirst draft

Writing the first draft for me is especially helpful in these down-to-the-wire situations. 

 It can also be used to give yourself a kick in the pants, e.g. stop procrastinating, push.  Yes, it is a bit of a mind game, but whatever gets the result:  your story out of your head and onto “paper”.  

For a more robust template, I have outlined a process here.  The Five Legacy Opt-In below provides categories with prompts to help further with the Blank Screen syndrome. 

To jump in further I have compiled a workbook, Give Your Story A Voice, available on Amazon.  

Summer is a great time to carve out that special time to write.  Do it first for yourself.  The rest of us will wait!


I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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