Rough Draft: Sometimes You Just Have to Write

Have you ever been working on your rough draft and you catch yourself second guessing, editing, or rearranging text as you write?  Well, STOP IT!  Your rough draft needs to be, well, rough.
In a lot of ways, writing my story of how God saved me is much easier than someone writing fiction or working on research-based content.  However, it is still easy to get stuck, especially when the content you are writing about is difficult (emotionally, theologically, etc.).  What you need to remember is that your first draft should be rough, and the point is to capture everything that you are thinking and wanting to communicate.  Keep writing.

One of the best ways to keep your project moving forward is to make an effort to write a little bit everyday.  There will be days that you will be on a roll and get several pages written.  Other times you will get three sentences and be ready to call it a day.  The hope is that over the course of several months you will have a good amount of content gathered and will be able to have that tipping moment where you are able to push towards the end.

Personally, I struggle with overthinking the end-result, and it paralyzes me from just writing my first draft.  I obsess about how it will all work together, how I will best communicate a truth, whether or not I should use real names, etc.  However, these are issues that need to be dealt with in later rounds of editing.  These are issues that your editor helps you with, along with your publisher, if need be.

Here are a few things that I have to remind myself of during the writing of my rough draft:

  1. Get the Content Out Now.  Organize, edit, expand, correct, and finalize later.
  2. Remember Your Team.  If you are taking your writing project seriously, then you have an editor, and a publisher who cares about your work.  Understand that their job is to help you get the best product that you possibly can have.  However, they can’t help you if they have nothing to work with.
  3. Tell The Story / Deliver The Content.  The goal of the rough draft really is to get all of the main ideas, stories, and content put onto paper (or the screen). The more content you can provide, the more there will be to work with when you and your team are working on the subsequent rounds of revisions.
  4. Expect Critique. If you are living in a writers bubble, and do not allow anyone else to review your work, then you might think you have created a masterpiece, but your opinion only goes so far.  Allow others to read your work and to offer feedback once your rough draft is done.  I expect those working with me to push me to get more out of me.  I hope they tell me, “Write more about this,” or “This is stupid, it’s out.”  If everyone around me just tells me it’s amazing and doesn’t offer any real critique, then I know they are not serious about my project making an impact.  Writing a rough draft that doesn’t require critique is: A) Not a rough draft; B) Reveals self-centeredness.  So, repent, and welcome critique.
  5. Be Prepared For More Work.  Your rough draft is not the final product.  It is one of the hardest steps in the writing process, but once you complete it, you need to be ready to do just as much, if not more work.  There are many self-publishing companies today that will let you publish whatever you want.  They just want your money.  This is one of the many reasons I am grateful for Lucid Books.  Our commitment is to quality, not only in design and service, but also in the content of the books we help to publish.

If you are working on a first draft, or have a finished manuscript, I highly encourage you to consider working with Lucid Books.  We won’t let you publish a rough draft, and we will work with you to get the best product possible.  I appreciate your continued prayers and encouragement as I strive to release this book on time.  Well, this is all for now.  I must continue to write!

Casey Cease