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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Swiss Cheese recipe for first drafts

So the truth is my w.i.p usually flows really well... right up until I hit the first love scene and then I falter. Every time. I’ll struggle with this for weeks because I feel like this is the part of the story that counts and it should be perfect.

But it doesn’t have to be perfect on the first draft.

Swiss cheese doesn’t fall apart, despite its many holes! I read this on a blog post last night and ding – I got it. You can find that blog post here! Lots of great information on that site and Thank you to Write to Done for helping me grasp this concept.  http://writetodone.com/2009/06/23/first-draft-secrets-four-simple-steps/

I’m struggling over the first draft of my sixth story and I finally “get” it. Swiss cheese is more complicated to make than many of the other cheese recipes. A newly formed cheese must cure for four months to a year before it’s ready to be eaten. So remember that while you’re crafting your first draft. Once it’s completed you must let it cure for a while before it’s ready to be sent out to the world. This is only the first stage of the creative process. The second stage of the writing process is the editing, and this is the stage you should spend more time on.  

It usually takes me about four to six months to finish a story. This year my new year’s resolution will be to finish a first draft in two to three months. I want to be quicker on the first draft so I can spend more time on the edits. Because if you think about it, the editing is the yummy frosting, the delicious toppings and you should take more time polishing your masterpiece than creating it.

Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s taken me a long time to realize this. The famous Nora Roberts saying “You can’t edit a blank page” is true. But you can edit crap. Tell the story. Period. Don’t worry about showing versus telling, world building, or any other rules for that matter. Just tell the story. Get it all out and then you can go back later to make it shine.

Set daily goals and write. It doesn’t matter if its crap. Just write.

I think one of the key elements to writing a first draft is marking your holes as you go. That way it’ll take less time to spot them later in the editing stage. If you need to research something put in a little * or a ? or even an ____. It’ll help you remember where you need to come back and fill in the spaces, expand on an idea, or even research on a subject.

Using the highlighter is extremely helpful with this as well. Utilize all your tools at hand and don’t be afraid to make up some rules as you go. I remember when I first started writing I was so afraid to deviate from my original set plan that I almost stalled out to a complete stop. I did as a matter of fact quit writing for about five years. And then when I picked it back up again, I swore I would make my own rules, edit the rules I have already learned to fit my style and don’t be afraid to deviate from my initial plans. If you stall out on chapter six don’t be afraid to pick up at chapter nine where all the action is if that’s what your muse is telling you to write. You can always go back in to fill in the blanks.  

More than likely, if you’ve participated in Nanowrimo this year and haven’t finished that particular manuscript but are so close, then I imagine the words are starting to stutter to a halt. So this is a great time to come to terms with the fact that this is a first draft. When it gets hard, don’t worry about whether it’s right or good, just get it done.

Swiss cheese doesn’t fall apart, despite its many holes. I love this phrase and I hope it’s given you the light bulb moment it gave to me. This post has just a hint of the info you need for the Swiss cheese recipe for writing. Read the entire original post to get all the goodies from it. It was a great help to me and I hope it will be for you.

Until then here’s a Swiss Cheese Dip recipe for you to try! It's great for parties! (And this coming from the Lady Scribe who hates, hates, hates to cook. So I know if I can do it, anyone can LOL.) 


  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup mayo (not miracle whip)
  • 2 8 oz pkgs shredded swiss cheese
  • chopped green onion
  • cooked bacon cut into pieces


Mix cream cheese, mayo and swiss cheese. Add onions, spread in casserole dish, sprinkle with cut up bacon. Bake at 325 for 30 mins      


  1. Suzie, that is such a good point. I struggle with this. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I have a hard time moving on to the next chapter if the last one isn't exactly how I think I want it. But, you know what? It changes anyway. Because I always go back and add or delete sections. So, striving for perfection the first time out is stupid (for me!), because it ain't going to happen. ;D

  2. It's really hard to wrap your mind around not editing until it's finished but once you do, you'll find that it actually makes the writing process quicker. And again this method isn't for everyone but it works for me. Good luck and thanks for stopping in, Olivia!

  3. I hate swiss cheese. Which is probably why I struggle to get a WIP out. I want it to be perfect. I want to finish in one pass of writing.

    I know this isn't realistic and I still struggle. I'd love to finish a first draft faster. It's one of the goals for 2012 - Finish as many of my wips as possible.

  4. I think women in general tend to have a more perfectionist pov and so we tend to struggle to move past that uncompleted section of the book. But I think once we figure out that we can return to it and "fix" it, it becomes easier and easier each time we do so.

    My advice is to try it more than once before it catches on and if after three times it just doen't work, then return to the old way. Giving your creativity without the constrictions of editing is very freeing once you've tried it.

    Thanks for stopping in, Beth! We love hearing from you!

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