Your First Draft Doesn’t Have to Be a Masterpiece

Layer your work instead

Diona L. Reeves
7 min readSep 28, 2023


Stacks of colorful papers to represent a layering process
Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

My first drafts are terrible. Ramblings, incomplete storylines, no sense of order or cohesion.

The second and third drafts aren’t much to brag on, either, but I don’t stress about them as much as I used to.


Because I’ve learned the value of layering my work.

The Process in Action

One chilly winter morning in 2021, I turned on the electric fireplace in my office. The holidays were forthcoming, but instead of the usual spark I get at Christmastime, I felt sad.

As I warmed my hands before the blower, I envisioned a young woman staring into a real fireplace. Her house was cold, like my office, and she was depressed.

I reached for my trusty writing tools and captured the thoughts swirling in my head. I quickly filled two pages with a scene involving the main character, Jaq, and her recent heartache.

I was on a roll. I jumped to another page and captured a series of events that would serve as my base storyline. More characters popped into my head, and I noted their basic traits and connection to Jaq.

As my notes progressed, I discovered why she was cold and why she was depressed…



Diona L. Reeves

Thrives on being nicheless! Writes about life lessons, creativity, organization, and more.