Finish a First Draft – the Elephant Method

For me — like most folks with a day job — finding the cumulative time to finish a new first draft is a tricky business.

It’s not just the time though.

Most folks can patch together a spare hour a day.

For me it’s the mental fortitude required to weather a day at work, then the commute home, then dinnertime prep and youngster bedtime routine.

I’m pooped.

But it doesn’t matter. There is a window of time to be claimed. A sweet spot I must make my own.

This is what I call the elephant method. It is the only option open to non-fulltime writers.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

Not that I’m into that sort of thing, mind you!

A few hours every night will add up to a finished draft.

One word at a time. One page at a time. One chapter at a time. Before you know it, you’ve got a draft done and you’re ready to edit and prepare it for the world.

Indian Elephant by ATArts “Actual eating not recommended”

If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel, why don’t you write one alongside me?

Doesn’t matter what genre it is. Turn off your inner procrastinator and your inner critic. Just let your creativity flow and you’ll be amazed at what you’ve got to give. This method is about short bursts of speed and momentum. Imagine a charging elephant. It takes a bit to get to full speed, but once you find your flow… look out! I’ve written a few books now and this whole writing thing hasn’t got any easier than when I began my first book. I’m still an elephant, but I don’t mind at all.

Every book is a new challenge. A joyful, painful, maddening creation. It will test you and reward you in equal measure. I love the writing process and live in fear of it too.

I’ll be posting my word count regularly to keep me accountable. I’ll not let the fear of failure overcome me.

I’ll aim for about 1500 words everyday for 6 weeks or so.

That should build up to be about what I need to finish the first draft of my next novel, Darkness Bright.

Feel free to post in the comments about your first draft progress or any questions you might have.

Heck I’d just love to see folks cheering us on. (I’m desperate for external validation!)


Progress Log

Monday, 16th October – 1633 words

Woohoo! I started with a win and beat my daily 1500 goal. Don’t worry, I’m sure that there will be days where I dip under. Such is life. Anyhoo, this little parcel is made up of the scribblings I wrote on the train commute to work and then a sprint at home after making (and most importantly eating) dinner.

Anyone else hit their targets today? If you didn’t, not to worry. Tomorrow is just around the corner. Onwards charge!

P.S. Thanks so much for all your supportive comments below! I’m feeling the love. 🙂

Tuesday, 17th October – 885 words

First bump in the road. Didn’t hit my 1500 goal. I stupidly started reading critical reviews of my books after a reader said my latest work was “poorly written”. Take that confidence! Thwack. I hope I can iron out any issues presented.

I must be a sucker for pain to then go and see if anyone else thinks my books bite the big one. Why do bad reviews always stick at the top of Amazon’s review list? They must be upvoted by folks deciding not to read them. Ha! Tonight I will dream of an army of fae folk upvoting the positive reviews to get them to the top of the barrel. Speaking of which, my son requires a coin for the tooth fairy. Despicable wretches who trade in teeth… reminds me of the Jandans. What odd customs we humans cling too.

Enough of the moping, Benny Boy! Fear not. Tomorrow is a brighter day. A day to accomplish great things!

…”A day for harvesting teeth!” squeaks a voice from the shadowy innards of the wardrobe behind me.

Who said that? … Bloody toothfae!

10 thoughts on “Finish a First Draft – the Elephant Method

  1. Hang in there Benjamin. Before you know it the book will be finished and you’ll be wondering why you were thinking it was the “elephant” in the room. We love your books.

    B.T.W. Don’t make me get out the whip. Lol

      1. I’m pleased to hear that Good Sir. I’ll just go and get the cat o’nine tails and prepare to flail the elephant or should that be the writer?

  2. You would totally appreciate the lessons taught through example by the MC in Eromanga Sensei (エロマンガ先生), who believed in himself enough and got enough validation from only a few dedicated fans to keep writing, creating, continuing through the story to build his professional career, supporting his sister & an independent livelihood.
    At least, that’s important takeaway.
    There are also plenty of fluffy memes to enjoy.

    1. I think that is a great focus to have! I also appreciate helpful critiques too. I know some folks will like some scenes and themes more than others. That’s all good. I just need to keep an even keel and not take it to heart. My goal is to just keep improving my craft and build a fantastic world of magic and lore that can be enjoyed along the way. I so lucky to have such amazing supporters cheering me onward. Truely honoured by it all. 🙂 Here’s to my favourite readers! 🙂
      *raises imaginary stein of mead into the air then drinks to the Vanguard!

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