How to Write a Second DraftThe anxiety-relieving, blueprint-building, creativity-unleashing second draft

[This article is written by guest contributor Virginia McCullough, co-founder of The Book Catalysts]. 

It’s done! Your first draft, with all your best ideas, information, and advice finally on paper. What a terrific accomplishment.  We’re advocates for the fast and furious first draft and doing whatever it takes to get a draft down in short order and without stopping to edit or polish.

But now what?

Completing the first-draft stage can lead to anxious moments. One of our clients produced a first draft by writing almost daily over a period of three months. She achieved this by carving out 20 to 40 minute stretches in her already busy schedule. “It was an exhilarating time,” she told us, “but now I look at my draft and wonder what to do with this mess. It’s my baby, but now I wonder how I’ll ever be able to edit these clunky pages.”

Good news. She doesn’t have to think about editing. Not yet. And if you have a first draft completed, neither do you. Instead, it’s time for a second draft. Sure, a lucky few produce fairly well-behaved first drafts, meaning they wrote the information in roughly the same sequence it will appear in the book.

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Why You Should Write in Shorter Blocks[This article was written by guest contributor Lynda McDaniel, co-founder of The Book Catalysts.]

Have you ever coveted a cozy writer’s garret where you could create brilliant bestsellers in long, uninterrupted writing sessions?

Well, don’t. That fantasy can ruin your chances of becoming a successful author. Here’s why:

1. As long as you think that’s what it takes to write a book, you’re less likely to write.

“Oh, I don’t have time to write today,” you tell yourself because you don’t have several hours to spare. Or “It’s just too hectic to write today.” Excuses like these feed the procrastination beast, which seems to have an insatiable appetite.

2. Uninterrupted periods of writing can cripple your creativity and productivity,...

... according to Benjamin Nugent in the New York Times (February 2, 2013). He learned this the hard way while enrolled in a master’s program in fiction. Nugent isolated himself in a prairie town with no Internet, no TV, no iPhone so he could produce great literature.

Only he didn’t.

“The disaster unfolded slowly,” he writes.

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