Speed Writing/One Draft and Done: Why It’s Not for Beginners (Or, Anyone Really)

I attended a conference a year ago where I learned a lot about the indie publishing industry. I loved it because women (and not just cis, heterosexual, white women) were on panels for science fiction and fantasy writing. The speakers were accessible and I did a lot of networking there. I even had a chance to tell one of my favorite indie authors how much I love her work. She gave me the best hug and was so sweet.
Then I attended a talk where the speaker went on about once and done clean drafts: writing without editing, revising, or critique. At that same conference, another speaker pushed for publishing multiple novels a year. This caused me no small amount of anxiety.


In combination, it’s terrible advice. I mean, the worst.

The one who said he wrote one “clean” draft and done, has been a professional author for over 40 years. If you’ve done anything professionally for forty years, you’re going to do it better than someone who just started out a year or even five years ago. Plus, he wrote books for a franchise so popular that he literally could write a shallow, plot by numbers story and throw in the names of the characters from the TV series, and he’d still sell millions. The world and character building were all done for him.

Writing is a process. If you don’t have your characters, plot, and world built before you start writing and you have no plans to revise let alone take feedback, it’s going to show. You’re not going to make sales.

Secondly, putting out several books a year is also an awful advice for new writers. There’s no time to hone your craft and write a well-written best seller. It doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece to be a good book that sells, but it does have to reflect that it was a well-thought out and honed story. The indie writers who can put out that many books a year usually have a degree in creative writing and/ or over ten years of writing experience, a dedicated editor, cover artist, and beta readers. They don’t have a day job. Many burn out after a few years writing at that pace.

Before new writers worry about putting out three books a year, written in one draft, please consider taking writing classes, attending workshops, and building a network of critique partners. Learn about the creative process in a creative environment. Knowing how to craft a well-written story and taking your time to edit and revise is the best marketing tool in an indie author’s marketing toolbox.

Hope you’re all well. Happy writing!


Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

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