Skip to content
Goofy First Draft Stuff #ww

Goofy First Draft Stuff #WW

Writing a first draft for me is up and down. It involves wasted minutes (okay, hours) staring at the screen and having no idea what comes next. Then it’s manic typing when something so delicious happens I can’t get it on the page fast enough. Since first drafts are all over the place for me, I thought I’d share some goofy stuff I do to survive them.

Give secondary characters silly temporary names instead of taking the time to come up with a usable one. For instance, a few weeks ago I named a real estate agent Dexter Leatherface. Don’t ask why. I have no reason.

Binge on sugary candy. Right now there’s a box of little Gobstoppers on my desk. I also love hard candies and Bottlecaps. Chocolate is my first love, but I have to watch the calories!

Mangle Silly-Putty when I have no idea what to write next. Years ago my sweet friend and fellow author, Liz Johnson, sent me a care package with a plastic egg of Silly-Putty in it, and I’ve been having fun with it ever since.

Mentally berate myself. How could I have only written 257 words in one hour? Seriously, Jill? What’s your prob?

Blink several times when I’ve written far more than I thought. Can the word count be correct? Did I miscalculate? I’m always amazed when words pour onto the paper.

Sit there. And sit there. And sit some more until I get something on the page!

The big thing I MUST do when writing a first draft? Keep my buns in the chair! If I get up for any “good” reason like laundry, dishes, fixing the hole in my shirt that’s been there for months, organizing my pantry, going to the library to get research books (which aren’t for research in any way, shape or form–they are distractions!!), I might as well throw my goals out the window and light them on fire. The book will NEVER get done.

Now you know my weird habits. I’d love to hear if you do anything goofy while you’re writing a first draft!

How do you get yourself to stick with a project when it doesn’t always go as planned?

Have a terrific day!

Only one more month and REUNITED WITH THE BULL RIDER (Wyoming Cowboys 2) will be in stores! Eeeeekkk!!! 

Reunited with the Bull Rider. Wyoming Cowboys Book 2 by Jill Kemerer. June 2018

Goodbye rodeo, hello hometown. But is this Wyoming Cowboy ready to face his past?

Amy Deerson wanted to mentor a child. Her plan did not include former bull rider Nash Bolton—the little girl’s brother and guardian. It’s been a decade since Nash left town without a word, breaking Amy’s young heart. Now they must put their painful past aside to help fragile, traumatized Ruby. If only getting over their first love were that simple.

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. She hopes to encourage readers through her books the way so many books have encouraged her. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website,

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. I have a little jar of goodies I call the idea jar. It has loose buttons and marbles, a stress ball, and a host of other bits and bobs that I can play with. I mean, that I can use wisely to occupy my brain so that my subconscious can…Fine. They’re just things that I can play with.

  2. Jill, I love that you’ve shared the silliness that happens during a rough draft. I might just have to try that Silly Putty idea!

    For me, I love the first draft most of all, because it’s my initial discovery of the story. It isn’t always easy, but it’s a complete blast for me. There are crazy things that happen, though, whether it’s on the page or not. One time, I put “elbow tool” into the script because I couldn’t remember “crowbar” for anything. I even had to ask my dad what it was! Talk about an off day. (I had more boxing terminology than tools in my mind for that particular project, and hey, it counted as two words instead of only one.)

    Sometimes when the words aren’t coming or I feel completely stumped, instead of sitting there staring at the page, I’ll get on my stepper and exercise while I’m puzzling out what should come next. It’s a great way to stretch my back and legs while still working on the story in some fashion. Usually, I can come back to the computer and crank out plenty of words after that. It’s an activity I know I can’t usually do for longer than fifteen minutes at a time, which puts a limit on the break from the story.

    One crazy thing I have to resist during those “I need words but can’t BUY them” moments is rearranging my movies and/or books. That’s one of my comfort things to do, and it’s so monotonous in many ways that being able to tune out of my mind for a bit often helps recharge my creative batteries. However, when I’m on a crunch for a word count, dumping several hours into rearranging the contents of my shelves is not such a smart idea. So, I try to save that activity for between projects or my scheduled non-writing time.

      1. I thought that one would make you laugh. It hasn’t failed me yet. 🙂 I’m glad to share some tips, and I’m grateful for yours too.

  3. When I have a project that isn’t going as planned, I take some time away from that project and focus on something else. For example, I am focused on my blog right now and also, some guest posts and writing for a local magazine. My book is still a “work in progress”. I just needed to step away for a little bit. 🙂

  4. Jill, what works for me is having two or three projects going at once. No, it’s not the initial writing of all three, that would kill me, but I cycle back and forth between initial writing, rewriting and editing. Some of it depends on what my crit partner or a contest judge has suggested, so I’ll cycle back to Book B and take care of that. It wouldn’t work for a more linear writer, but it’s worked so far for me.
    I am also a fan of getting away from the keyboard, if I’m not on absolute deadline, and recharging. Sometimes the city does it for me, I live near Boston and I love it and always come home refreshed. Sometimes it’s the mountains or ocean. It is easy to get stumped or burned out. We each have our own strategies. Good post. Hope I’m not too late, I’ve been at a temp job all week.
    Kathy Bailey

    1. I work on multiple projects, too, Kathy, and it’s great for breaking up mental blocks. I’m glad it works for you, too! I’ve always wanted to visit Boston! How fun is that?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top