June 4, 2010

The Summer of Shitty First Drafts

In the book Art & Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland tell the parable of the pots. At the beginning of the semester, a ceramics instructor divides the class. Half will be graded on one perfect pot; the other half on the output of pots. Throughout the semester, those graded on one pot argue the merits of the perfect pot, but they do not apply the clay to the wheel. Those graded on output generate pot after pot. At the end of the semester, those graded on output receive the highest marks.

In the spirit of this parable, I’m declaring this the Summer of Shitty First Drafts ~ SSFD for short. The best results are achieved by throwing yourself into something and turning out work after work, so in the interest of getting better, trying harder, that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve recently started running again (two miles at least three times a week), so I might as well throw myself into the writing too. What the heck. Sort of like the deadlines of my own little writing workshop.

So, I’m going to write a story a week all summer long. That’s 13 stories before September 1.

The Rules:

1. Every Monday, I will start a new short story. That means on midnight of the previous day, Sunday, I have to drop the previous short story and move on.

2. Shitty first drafts only.

3. (If I have time during the weak to edit and polish, great, but if not, move on. And if I finish one story, I can go back and polish another.)

4. A shitty first draft = at least three pages double spaced. That way, if I find it’s Sunday and I haven’t even started, I can throw down a really shitty first draft in an hour or two without feeling guilty and getting (even farther) behind.

5. However, the goal will be a first draft of a full story each week.

6. I will report my progress here every Monday.

That’s it. My first story is due Monday, so I’d better get cracking!

What I’m Reading Today: Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.


Pembroke said...

You have a very lofty goal ahead of you this summer. I wish you the best of luck!

Tamara said...

I'm playing "Eye of the Tiger" as we speak :-)


Pembroke said...

LOL! I hope it's getting you pumped up! I'm excited to see the stories you come up with. That should be one of your rules.

7. Share stories with Pembroke for constructive criticism/a good chuckle!

Tamara said...

I would love to! But 8. Only if Pembroke is up for it. And maybe Pembroke will have some things to share back?