5 Things I Learnt When Writing The First Draft Of My First Novel

During lockdown, I (finally!) embarked on writing my novel! This is something I’ve been planning on doing for such a long time, and so I’m really glad I pushed myself to sit down and churn it all out.

I’ve done a lot of writing over the years – short stories, poetry, a novella in my early teenage years – but I’d never completed a novel, so this was a new kind of journey for me!

I found that it was a very very long process, not even in the span of time (I aimed to complete it within two months), but the amount of dedication and consistency that has to be committed to get it done. Some days I really didn’t want to write but I knew I had to!

However, overall, I feel like I learnt a lot, so I want to share this with you all. I’m sure you writers out there can relate! And perhaps it will give you some positivity and motivation for your own novel.


Here are 5 Things I Learnt When Writing My Novel:


1 – Just when you think you’ve come to a standstill, and that you can’t write anything more of value, you will find a way. Every time.

2 – Sometimes you will hate writing. You really won’t feel like it. But it’s worth pushing through those parts for the moments when you feel really proud of yourself, when you feel like what you’re saying really matters, and that it can be something truly great.

3 – Trust yourself. Trust that whatever complications are forming within your thoughts of self-doubt, you will be able to fix when it comes to editing. Because nothing is perfect first time round, but that does not mean it is a waste.

4 – Writing is scary. It’s frightening when you’re writing something that means a lot to you, but equally feels like a huge looming statue over your head that might topple and break at any moment. But it is fear that produces the best results.

5 – Don’t judge the first draft. Mine was a lot shorter than I expected, and when I read it back, there were moments when I questioned whether it was good enough, or if anyone would even like it, but the first attempt is never perfect.




Now that the first draft is done, I am onto the editing process!

I wish everyone the best of luck with their own writing projects. Let me know what you’re working on in the comments below! Or if you have any writing advice of your own.

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Goodreads: mymindspeaksaloud

24 thoughts on “5 Things I Learnt When Writing The First Draft Of My First Novel

  1. Lol at point #2. I don’t feel like writing all the time, yet I still do it, and I can totally get that. Have churned out a few manuscripts now and I feel like I only get slightly better each time. But still, we press on. Wishing you all the best with your authorly pursuits and thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha yes, when you spend so many hours doing something, it can get exhausting, even if you love it! Thank you for your comment and wishing you all the best with your manuscripts too!


  2. Congratulations on completing your first draft! It is a huge accomplishment.
    I fully agree with #2. Pushing yourself to take the fist step is important to get anything done. Thee key is to break the inertia and build a new momentum!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m currently in the process of finishing the first draft of my first novel. It started as my character’s diary for our Dungeons & Dragons campaign, to help us remember where we’d got to on our adventure if we missed a few weeks. It got out of control not very long after that and has only grown in size since then.

    Each of the obstacles on this list is one I have come across and continue to find difficulty with. Number 5 resonates with me, especially as I’m at the last chapter. If I don’t finish it I’m less likely to share it with anybody, so I can believe it’s good (or bad) and either way it’s not a problem.

    I keeping worrying every day, even if it’s just a little bit at a time.

    Thank for the encouragement to keep writing, and to discuss the difficulties we’re having. I feel more capable of overcoming them every day I write.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really glad you could relate to these, but also feel encouraged by them too! Writing can be very solitary, but knowing others are feeling the same way about their own work can be really helpful.

      Sometimes we have to stop thinking about the “how” and just about the “what” – what we want to achieve, not how we’re going to make ourselves get there, because often that is what stops us from making it possible.

      Best of luck with your first draft! Keep going – you’ve got this!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations! Getting the first draft done is an amazing feat! I’m on my fifth draft and the point where it’s with a professional editor. For me it’s been a massively long drawn out process and at times I just feel ready to be done with it. I miss that all consuming energy of the first draft, of getting the words from my brain and down on paper. Good luck with your editing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Although I am not writing a novel now, I can relate to this, having written loads of blogs. Especially point 4. Writing is scary, more so because I write about sensitive mental health topics sometimes, and I feel with those topics I have to get it spot on as other bloggers are reading it. And if I say something wrong I get scared that I would be judged. I have written over 15,000 words of blogs in the past 3 months, and honestly there have been times where I have hated writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I get what you mean! It can feel like exposing yourself on a stage, in a different sort of way, and not knowing who the audience are. It takes a lot of courage, but I’ve found, in my own experience, that it’s helped with my confidence in opening up. I hope it helps you in time too 😊


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