Fast Draft (or Why I Will Be Ghost for a Few Days)


I need this typewriter, delivered to me by a naked Idris Elba or a naked Michael Fassbender. Kind and benevolent Universe, make that happen. 

Now that I have stopped daydreaming, let me tell you the truth. What I really need is a swift kick in the pants, right square and dead center in the middle of my butt. 

Yeah, I need a dose of reality and a gentle, forceful shove toward my writing. 

Enter Candace Havens and an email about her newest class. I was hesitant about signing up for any courses this year with my new job role, volunteer commitments, and other things to do (i.e., dating in Atlanta, walking dogs, playing bridge, going to parties, baking, and selling homes). 

I put a call out to writers on Twitter about the value of the class, and I was overwhelmed with responses. People loved the class, enjoyed the camaraderie, and suffered through it with great success. They felt encouraged, and I felt that I needed to take the leap. 

So, I jumped in and joined this iteration of the Fast Draft course. Candace Haven’s Fast Draft is supposed to give me that. Fast Draft is “a process in which you’ll finish your book in two weeks or less.”

For me, the slowest writer this side of the green grass, this is a challenge. 

Authors have used many ways to discuss Fast Drafting. One at a recent conference called this type of writing as the Christmas tree you buy and the editing and revisions as the lights and decorations you put on it. Someone else described it as building a skyscraper. You have to get the framework built out before you start to decorate. 

I need the words on the page, the unadorned Christmas tree in my living room, and the scaffolding that climbs into the sky for that unformed building. 

I need that shitty first draft that the sage, oh-so-wise Anne Lamott talks about. I need words on a page because you can’t edit a blank page. (Thanks, Nora Roberts, for that.)

So, I committed. I paid my money, and I said I will do 3 pages a day (at a minimum). I will be holed up in my house or office, writing as much as I can. Wish me luck 

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The Skim: 24 February 2014

As always, The Skim is a curated weekly round-up of links, podcasts, videos, and/or books. I missed two weeks. I hang my head in shame that I neglected my blog for so long, but it was for the greater good. Now, I have a ton of things to post. 

This week, I am all about sexy time (or as Feminista Jones said on Twitter yesterday, “the freaknasty”), being productive with some assorted balderdash thrown in. 

Sexy Time Thangs:
Funk N Beans: Shameless sex and gender 

Podcast — TWiB! After Dark (a sex-positive, progressive show hosted by Feminista Jones and N’Jaila Rhee)

Getting Thangs Done (aka Being Productive):
Vitae: Reverse Day Planning (or Where does the day go?)
Writing is My Drink: Once upon a block–How I got through my worst block ever (with a great link to Virginia Valian’s essay “Learning to Work” from Working It Out: 23 Women Writers, Artists, Scientists, and Scholars Talk About Their Lives and Work)

Assorted Balderdash

The best advice on writing I ever received was: Invent your confidence. When you’re trying something new, insecurity and stage fright come with the territory. Many wonderful writers (and other artists) have been plagued by insecurity throughout their professional lives. How could it be otherwise? By its nature, art involves risk. It’s not easy, but sometimes one has to invent one’s confidence.

DIANE ACKERMAN

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(via kadrey)

If you view crossing the finish line as the measure of your life, you’re setting yourself up for a personal disaster. … You need to honor the highs and the peaks in the moments — you need to prepare your life for them — but recognize the fact that the preparation for those moments is your life and, in fact, that’s the richness of your life. … The challenge that we set for each other, and the way that we shape ourselves to rise to that challenge, is life.

Sage advice on success and the meaning of life from astronaut Chris Hadfield – a fine addition to our ongoing archive of wisdom on life. (via explore-blog)

Daily Prompt: Love to Love You

Happy Valentine’s Day! This is some people’s favorite day of the year. Mine is February 15, when I get all the V-Day candy 75 percent off at Target, CVS, and Wal-Mart. Score: me 1, lovers of the world, 0. 

This prompt came up on my dash today: 
What do you love most about yourself? What do you love most about your favorite person? Are the two connected?

And I just had to answer it. I have no idea what to say about what I love about myself. When I was in college, I would say that I love my wrists. It was the one thing that was tiny on me — or so I thought. 

For so many years, I hated who I was, what I was. I looked at myself as an awkward mud monster. I was a bull in a china shop: large, uncomfortable, and always knocking shit around. I didn’t feel fragile. Dainty. Feminine. I felt huge. 

Now, I appreciate my awkwardness, my largeness. It allowed me the ability to take up space and not feel crowded by others. My awkwardness revealed people who were truly into me and pushed away those who didn’t. 

I looked back at pictures of me in college. (I hate photos, so finding a photo of me is rare. Like unicorn rare.) I wasn’t as big or as huge. My mind had been playing tricks on me forever. 

I’ve let others dictate what I should be and who I should be for years, and that included the body snarking I internalized. Now, I have shed most of that. I like the things I once hated so much. I love the things that I despised. I feel more at home in my body than I ever have. 

Once upon a time, I envied the girls who were tiny, cute, and tight bodied. Ladies who were able to wear bikinis and crushed velvet bodysuits. Women who chased after because the slits of the dresses were high, their butts were prominent. The girls whose living, I thought, was always easy and wonderful because they had attention and smallness. 

Now, when I hear them complain about not being those things anymore and aren’t quite at home in their bodies, I laugh (on the inside, never to their faces). We’ve traded places, and I hope they find a peace that I have.