Listen, I know there’s all this advice out there about limiting your use of adverbs and yes you shouldn’t overuse them (even though I will die on the hill of there being a time and a place and how “said softly” is not the same as “whispered” but whatever), but I’m going to give you another piece of advice.

When it’s the first draft, don’t bother.

The first draft, as countless others have said, is just getting the story from your head onto paper, where you can actually fix it and make it better. You can’t do that when it’s stuck inside your head. But I used to get stuck forever on trying to figure out the right word or rewording a sentence or piece of dialogue so I didn’t have to use an adverb. But you know what? Screw that. It messed up my flow and when I’m trying to motivate myself to get a draft written, that’s the last thing I need.

So in your first draft, just put the damn adverb. It’s a single word that gives you a sense of how something is being done or said without messing up your flow. Then later, when you’re rewriting or editing you can decide how you really want to say it. Making this mindset change has saved me a lot of grief already. First drafts exist to be fixed and improved upon, folks! And later, when you’re rewriting, you way realize that word does belong there! Because adverbs exist for a reason and do have their place in the writing world! So embrace the adverbs! Embrace them!

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