While I haven’t actually compiled a list of writing tips from pirates, Emily Wenstrom came up with a few from Captain Jack Sparrow in her post about writing first drafts on The Write Practice. In her helpful piece, Ms. Wenstrom’s first tip is, “The rules are more like guidelines.” When writing your first draft, don’t restrict yourself; explore your options and experiment. Her second tip is, “Improvise as needed.” All the time, events take an unexpected turn in writing, but the best thing to do in this situation is to just go with it. Thirdly, “All that matters is what you can do and what you can not do.” You shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself for everything to be perfect and to go according to plan. On a similar note, the final tip, or quotation, is “Or was that the plan all along?” Don’t leave all the strings of your plot as loose ends to fly in the wind; make sure to tie them down. Even though it took a lot of work to make them neatly fit together, make it look as though everything ended just as you had planned.
Having thought about what Ms. Wenstrom had to say in her post, here are some tips I’ve come up with from my own experience on getting through the first draft:
1. Overestimate your time. No matter how long I think it’s going to take me to complete a new piece, I always manage to spend more time on it than expected. It’s good to be thorough and to take your time, which is why I recommend setting a later due date to avoid unnecessary complications.
2. Just do it. While there are a number of excuses one can come up with for not writing, the best thing you can do to finish a first draft is to, as Nike would say, “Just do it!” Even if the draft isn’t your best, a crappy draft is better than no draft at all.
3. Start with details. Try to lay out all your introductions in the first paragraph. It’s important to immediately immerse the reader in the world s/he’s in, what the tone of the situation is, where the scene is located, and who is there in the moment of action. Foundation is the key to opening the doors to other events later on in your piece.
What other tips do writers have for writing first drafts?