Time-Saving Tactics: Try Half-Drafts

By Alina Chase

Sticky notes on the wall of the Wikimedia Foun...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      When all you’re trying to do is capture thoughts,  develop ideas and explore possibilities, why restrict yourself to sentences, paragraphs and chapters?  Nothing will bring your train of thought to a screeching halt faster than stopping to ponder a comma or word choice or sentence structure. If you scribble and draw instead of write, you can capture ideas more quickly and more ideas on one page with no rules to distract you.

Try using a cheap spiral notebook (or the flip side of wasted printouts) and a pen or Crayons instead of your laptop. Then “write” using symbols, graphical representations and your version of shorthand. Advanced doodlers may even want to add stick figures or sketches. Do this in any way that makes sense to you, keeping in mind that the fewer words you use at this stage, the more time you’ll save.

      Then number, letter or otherwise code your ideas. Connect conepts with lines and arrows. Combine points with boxes that represent paragraphs, scenes, or chapters. Then, later, you can shuffle sheets around, spread them across the floor, or tape them to a wall to experiment with different scene and chapter sequences

      Think of these first drafts as half drafts for pantsters, graphical outlines for plotters. Quick to develop and review, they’ll minimize time wasted on tangents and writing clunky first-draft prose destined to be deleted. They contain just enough information to jog your memory so that when you do get back to the laptop, you can focus all your energy on writing brilliantly!

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