Ever heard of a “Zero Draft”?
It’s a tactic that bestselling author Fonda Lee sometimes uses when she’s got a bad case of writer’s block.
The one consistently reliable way to overcome "writer's block" is to lower your standards. I mean really lower them. Already low, you say? GO LOWER. E.g: what I'm writing now can't even be called First Draft. It's a Zero Draft. You know what, let's call it Negative Draft. (1/?)
— Fonda Lee (@FondaJLee) March 20, 2019
How a Zero Draft works: You build momentum by writing “complete drivel.”
Instead of starting with award-winning writing, Fonda says the characters in her Zero Drafts feel like puppets walking around a cardboard stage.
In other words, you write the bare bones of your content—the critical levers that keep the story moving from one place to the next.
What makes a Zero Draft special? We’ve all heard advice to “write bad first drafts.”
But the Zero Draft isn’t just a bad first draft—it’s a glorified outline, the simmered-down recipe for writing something good.
For example: Say you’re writing a blog post for a brand.
Instead of writing a bad 1,500 word first draft, try writing a 500-word Zero Draft: just the pieces you need to keep things moving, the key points of information, and leave gaps you can fill in later.
You can do the same thing when writing copy for landing pages, emails, or almost anything else.
Why it works: Zero Drafts help you overcome writers’ block and write subsequent drafts more quickly.
And, unlike a full-length, terrible first draft, Zero Drafts are easily digestible, sometimes bullet-point-style documents that provide instructions for writing better work.
Give it a shot! It worked for Fonda Lee. Her recent fantasy trilogy, The Green Bone Saga, has won heaps of awards.