Writing Tips For Teens #writingtipsforteens

Writing Tips for Teens #3: Writing the First Draft


This school year, I’m giving writing tips for teens each month. (See the first post at https://lynnlovegreen.com/writing-tips-for-teens-1-guidelines-and-getting-started/.) Last month, we talked about the writer’s notebook and prewriting (https://lynnlovegreen.com/writing-tips-for-teens-2-your-writers-notebook-and-prewriting). Today, we’ll look at the write step of the writing process, or writing first drafts.

Once you’ve done your prewriting or planning, you’re ready for the first draft. Again, use whatever tools work for you, but I assume most of us write on a laptop or device. It’s a good idea to create a file and save it right away and every so often so you don’t lose it if your program crashes or another problem threatens to wipe out your work. It’ll save you a lot of heartache if you develop that habit early on.

The first draft is the time to create your story (or whatever you’re working on). As you write, let the ideas flow onto the page. Don’t worry about spelling and typos and all that. You can go back and clean it up later. This is more about having fun and getting the basic story down.

Many of us get writer’s block at this stage. There are many reasons for it, but in my experience, writer’s block is usually our left or critical side of our brains talking to us. Maybe we’re afraid our ideas aren’t any good, or others won’t like what we write. Those negative thoughts can shut down our right or creative side of our brains. So don’t let that critic in. Crowd it out. Tell it to go away until revision, or drown it out with happy thoughts of how much fun this story is, or immerse yourself in music—or whatever works for you while you’re writing. Have fun and just write.

No matter how many brilliant writers there are in the world, there is no one just like you. Even if we all wrote the same story, each of us would bring it to life in a different way. Whatever you are writing is good enough. You are enough. We need your words. Now go and write!

If you’re interested in writing a novel, you might be interested in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s a challenge to write the first draft of a whole novel during the month of November. There’s a NaNoWriMo program just for younger writers, called the Young Writers Program (YWP). Learn more at https://ywp.nanowrimo.org.

Please comment if you have any questions. Take care. See you next month.

I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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