• Valerie Miller

Bottom drawer publishing

Updated: Sep 3



I may have invented a new level of drafting a novel. The pre-draft. This is the draft before the first draft.


I am currently writing my first novel to be submitted to a publisher.


When my family and I decided to pack up and move to a new city, I decided that I would become serious about writing a novel for publication. Up until then, I was a 'bottom drawer' publisher. I'd write something and then pop it in the bottom drawer. Nice and safe.


I have wanted to write a novel and become a published author for most of my life. My life had become a journey where I would veer off course, as I fixated on one of the many other goals I had: travelling around Europe; going to university; studying acting; getting married; becoming an English teacher; becoming a mum; becoming a Drama teacher; directing theatre, and completing a post-graduate degree in creative writing (I'm currently on that journey), but I always came back to writing.


In 2018 I enrolled in a couple of creating writing courses with the Australian Writers' Centre (AWC) and later that year in November, I participated in the Nanowrimo (National November Writing Month) challenge and wrote over 65,000 words of the novel I am currently working on. I was hooked.


When I was doing some research for another novel I wanted to write, I came across a Master of Letters in Creative Writing. It was a no-brainer, I enrolled and began my studies in 2019. I am halfway through and loving it and have successfully maintained a high distinction average. Next year is my dissertation and I am already thinking about the creative artefact I will write.


Robert Hoge (Australian author) says that' If you do 250 words a day five days a week and give yourself two days off and not do anything, you can get a book written in a year.' I figure, that if my goal is 500 words, 7 days a week, then I can afford to not write during a semester and still have a completed draft written within 12 months.


Yes, I do consider myself a writer. If you write, you are a writer.


I am a teacher by day and a writer by night.


There are some great resources out there to help you develop your craft as a writer, along with some encouraging quotes to inspire you. My go-to quotes are:

  • I can be a writer with a day job. Write after hours.

  • A professional writer is an amateur that didn't quit (Richard Bach)

  • The six golden rules of writing: read, read, read, and write, write, write (Ernest Gaines)

  • Embrace the thinking time as much as the writing time (Liane Moriarty)

So, what's a 'pre-draft'?


It's the mess and practice of getting a narrative arc down while I apply and use all the new writing skills I have learnt and discovered. It's the platform that gives me an opportunity to sharpen my writing tools. It took me 19 months to get to the end of the pre-draft. When I am studying, I do tuck my novel away. When I am not studying, I have a writing goal of 500 words per day. I get up every morning at 4 am and I write before work. This routine invigorates me. If I don't get to my word goal in the morning, I return to it when I get home from school and write until I do.


Writer's are not born, they are shaped through hard work and perseverance. I truly believe this and Stephen King, a master writer, supports this belief as well.


If you are inspired the following resources are a good start to pursue your own goals of becoming a writer:







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