A to Z Blogging Challenge, Writing Process

Q is for Quantity vs Quality

The consensus seems for a first draft seems to be quantity over quality.  I hear countless times, you just need to get your story down on paper, there is always later to revise it.  The whole month of November and April is dedicated with this concept with NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo.

I don’t think first drafts have to suck.  While getting your draft down on paper is important and no it doesn’t need to be perfect, but for me quality matters.  The more work I put in on the front end of a draft means the less work I have to do later during the revision stage.  I constantly will go back and read over what I have written and revise as I write.  According to some experts this is a bad idea, but it’s what works for me.  I don’t like to leave notes for myself to fix plots or weave in some back story.  I’d rather do it right when the idea comes to me.  Part of the reason I can’t write quickly is I might jump around in the storyline and have to go back and piece the story back together.  I like to stay interested in my project and tend not to stay on the “boring” parts long.  So needless to say NaNoWriMo and I aren’t friends.  I have attempted it three times and failed miserably at it until I realized that while it is a fantastic opportunity and supposed to be a lot of fun, it doesn’t work with my writing process.  I applaud those who can successfully complete NaNoWriMo.

It does take me longer to write the first draft because I am tinkering with the draft as I write, but I am happier with the finished version.  It typically only takes me one or two read-through revisions, before my work is ready to send off to beta readers.  Those first two round revisions I make are typically minor and focus more on spelling and word choice errors with the occasional plot issue mixed it.  I’m not (typically) doing a complete rewrite of the story.

It doesn’t surprise me that I approach my writing in the same manner in which I approach life.  Slow and steady wins the race, or so the tortoise and the hare taught us.  I like to experience life in it’s full and take my time getting to the destination and that’s exactly how I like experience writing.  I write slowly and think about and plan my book, revising as needed, then move on to the next scene.

Basically, it doesn’t matter how you write your first draft quickly or slowly just make sure you get that draft completed.


4 thoughts on “Q is for Quantity vs Quality”

  1. Nano and I are not friends either. I did Nano last October, and I basically felt i spent a whole month writing on nothing. The relentless focus on word count and speed was, to me at least, utterly useless. Now I wished I spent the month learning about plots, structure, and character development instead.
    There are so many ways of doing the first draft, and if sitting at the desk and just spitting the words out was all it took, we’d all be geniuses by now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have done Nanowrimo several times and I got something out of it each time I did it. What I have learned though, is that I can not write a real first draft at such a frenzied pace. The result I get is too awful to edit. If I were to do it again, which I may not, I’ll look at whatever I wrote as an “ideas” draft. From there I would start with a blank page and write a real first draft.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a fast drafter. It just seems to be the way I write best. The one WiP it took me the longest to write, I actually ended up scrapping and rewriting from scratch(which I did during a NaNo & had about 80k written in a month). I let my fear on that one get the best of me the first time. Now, I have my story mostly plotted out from the beginning, which I feel makes writing quickly go better. But, writing fast doesn’t mean the first draft sucks either. I don’t do a lot of rewriting, although I may have to change or add(or cut) things. But, I typically only do two rounds of revisions myself before sending it off to my critique partner.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a lot like you, Amanda. I figure if my 1st draft isn’t making sense to me as I write it, how, in the world, can I finish it? Everything must be in the right order, even if it means going back and either adding, deleting, or moving paragraphs.

    Liked by 1 person

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