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.
PS I wrote this book. Details here.