Setting: I have 45 minutes to write something, anything–it does not have to be good, it does not have to be to a purpose, but it needs to exist on paper. But, distracted, moving, unfocused, I can’t bring any of the things inside me out. I have a cheat–I send a text:
Me: Give me three random words to play with.
You: Saliva. Labia. Eyebrows.
It’s a common enough writer’s trick, I think–I give credit for my use of it to Sarah Selecky, a Canadian writer who runs a couple of great writing courses via her website, SarahSelecky.com. I wrote the first draft of Methadone (Consequences / Untitled… we’re still working on the title!) via Sarah’s writing prompts, which often followed the pattern “Write something using A, B, C”–all three words/concepts being utterly unrelated.
How much effort should you expand trying to read my handwriting in the photo above? Not that much, lover. With Anne Lamott, I’m a big believer in the power (and freedom) of shitty first drafts. Within a shitty first draft, there will be a gem or two, or a thread that will become the backbone of a stellar third draft…
But if you want to see what one of my shitty first drafts looks like, by all means, get out the lupe, and start deciphering my handwriting.