What is the most important writing strategy I’ve ever used? I don’t know!!
If I said it was for that last shitty first draft, I’d be lying. I was stressed out the night before and it should really be called the pre-shitty first draft for me. So I am going to use a different example. And yes, I am going to talk about the same paper I always do- which is really the only one I am most proud of (so far) in my writing career.
The prompt was do something out of your comfort zone, and I did! I walked in a fashion show/pageant and ran off the stage in fear. Like any good paper, I had an awesome idea/story of what my work would be, but not exactly the ideas of how to make it all go together and get me an A (and make me happy to submit). It turned out that I was actually in Atlanta the weekend of the final four and pretty pressed for time to get my draft in for Tuesday’s class last winter. I had a 3 hour lay over in Chicago to come back for Detroit and swore I would do my paper then.
Turned out that the night before I had worn one of those face tattoos on my right cheek and when I got back to the hotel from the game my boyfriend called with some issue and being stuck in Chicago. So as I listened and problem solved, I also scrubbed the tattoo off my face with a washcloth. NOTE TO ALL READERS: NEVER EVER EVER DO THIS. It actually burns your skin off if you don’t remove it properly. SO needless to say, the 3 hours I allocated to writing my paper were spent running back and forth to bathroom seeing how fast Neosporin can work and listening to my dermatologist laugh at me and call in a prescription to the Ann Arbor CVS.
So while I’m sure this story is highly entertaining, you’re probably wondering what my writing strategy is. Well I obviously was stuck the week that the paper was due with a really shitty first draft. So my solution, as well as my writing strategy was putting myself in the most relaxed state possible and just free writing.
It was something I had never done before, but something I now try to do every time I am stressing to handle the pinball machine of ideas in my mind. I sit up on a balcony (anyone’s who is available really) and I plop my trusty MacBook Pro on my lap and don’t connect to the Internet (this last thing has to be key to success).
The coolest thing about this process has got to be being outside and writing. You can take a minute to look at the sky or the trees or just take a breath every time a sentence just doesn’t seem right. The fresh air must do wonders for my brain but I sat out there until it was dark and had never felt more successful as a writer than I did in that moment. My mind was completely and utterly focused on what I was doing. For the first time since, well probably since I got a Facebook, that I was fully concentrated one just one thing. It was beautiful and just plain awesome.
So my writing stategy suggestion is to find your balcony. Find a place where your mind can actually be really free and not confined in a 5th floor cubicle in the library (unless that is your personal balcony than I guess it’s ok) and then just let it all go.
Ps- here is my balcony (sometimes writing with friends is allowed too!)