just getting this out of my drafts

So.

Let me just explain something real quick.


I haven’t posted any art in like two weeks.


This bums me out.


I’m working on stuff all the time - particularly commissions.


But I’m sort of in a bad place at the moment.


I don’t want to talk about it - though it’s sweet of you to offer.


I’m sorry if any commissions are taking a while at the moment - I’m not the art producing machine I used to be.


I am doing it I promise. I have hundreds of drafts sitting in my art folders. I’m getting there. It’s just slow going at the moment.


Sorry again - be patient with me. I’m a delicate bean.


Em x

8

Persona 5 Protagonist - Habits & Mannerisms

8

Look, Kimmy, I know you took a test or whatever, but you don’t have to be a crossing guard. You could be a unicorn, if you want.

Drafting: The Theory of Shitty First Drafts

Writing books often exhort you to “write a shitty first draft,” but I always resisted this advice. After all,

  1. I was already writing shitty drafts, even when I tried to write good ones. Why go out of my way to make them shittier?
  2. A shitty first draft just kicks the can down the road, doesn’t it? Sooner or later, I’d have to write a good draft—why put it off?
  3. If I wrote without judging what I wrote, how would I make any creative choices at all?
  4. That first draft inevitably obscured my original vision, so I wanted it to be at least slightly good.
  5. Writing something shitty meant I was shitty.

So for years, I kept writing careful, cramped, painstaking first drafts—when I managed to write at all. At last, writing became so joyless, so draining, so agonizing for me that I got desperate: I either needed to quit writing altogether or give the shitty-first-draft thing a try.

Turns out everything I believed about drafting was wrong.

For the last six months, I’ve written all my first drafts in full-on don’t-give-a-fuck mode. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

“Shitty first draft” is a misnomer

A rough draft isn’t just a shitty story, any more than a painter’s preparatory sketch is just a shitty painting. Like a sketch, a draft is its own kind of thing: not a lesser version of the finished story, but a guide for making the finished story.

Once I started thinking of my rough drafts as preparatory sketches, I stopped fretting over how “bad” they were. Is a sketch “bad”? And actually, a rough draft can be beautiful the same way a sketch is beautiful: it has its own messy energy.

Don’t try to do everything at once

People who make complex things need to solve one kind of problem before they can solve others. A painter might need to work out where the big shapes go before they can paint the details. A writer might need to decide what two people are saying to each other before they can describe the light in the room or what those people are doing with their hands.

I’d always embraced this principle up to a point. In the early stages, I’d speculate and daydream and make messy notes. But that freedom would end as soon as I started drafting. When you write a scene, I thought, you have to start with the first word and write the rest in order. Then it dawned on me: nobody would ever see this! I could write the dialogue first and the action later; or the action first and the dialogue later; or some dialogue and action first and then interior monologue later; or I could write the whole thing like I was explaining the plot to my friend over the phone. The draft was just one very long, very detailed note to myself. Not a story, but a preparatory sketch for a story. Why not do it in whatever weird order made sense to me?

Get all your thoughts onto the page

Here’s how I used to write: I’d sit there staring at the screen and I’d think of something—then judge it, reject it, and reach for something else, which I’d most likely reject as well—all without ever fully knowing what those things were. And once you start rejecting thoughts, it’s hard to stop. If you don’t write down the first one, or the second, or the third, eventually your thought-generating mechanism jams up. You become convinced you have no thoughts at all.

When I compare my old drafts with my new ones, the old ones look coherent enough. They’re presentable as stories. But they suck as drafts, because I can’t see myself thinking in them. I have no idea what I wanted that story to be. These drafts are opaque and airless, inscrutable even to me, because a good 90% of what I was thinking while I wrote them never made it onto the page.

These days, most of my thoughts go onto the page, in one form or another. I don’t waste time figuring out how to say something, I just ask, “what are you trying to say here?” and write that down. Because this isn’t a story, it’s a plan for a story, so I just need the words to be clear, not beautiful. The drafts I write now are full of placeholders and weird meta notes, but when I read them, I can see where my mind is going. I can see what I’m trying to do. Consequently, I no longer feel like my drafts obscure my original vision. In fact, their whole purpose is to describe that vision.

Drafts are memos to future-you

To draft effectively, you need a personal drafting style or “language” to communicate with your future self (who is, of course, the author of your second draft). This language needs to record your ideas quickly so it can keep up with the pace of your imagination, but it needs to do so in a form that will make sense to you later. That’s why everyone’s drafts look different: your drafting style has to fit the way your mind works.

I’m still working mine out. Honestly, it might take a while. But recently, I started writing in fragments. That’s just how my mind works: I get pieces of sentences before I understand how to fit them together. Wrestling with syntax was slowing me down, so now I just generate the pieces and save their logical relationships for later. Drafting effectively means learning these things about yourself. And to do that, you can’t get all judgmental. You can’t fret over how you should be writing, you just gotta get it done.

Messy drafts are easier to revise

I find that drafting quickly and messily keeps the story from prematurely “hardening” into a mute, opaque object I’m afraid to change. I no longer do that thing, for instance, where I endlessly polish the first few paragraphs of a draft without moving on. Because how do you polish a bunch of fragments taped together with dashes? A draft that looks patently “unfinished” stays malleable, makes me want to dig my hands in and move stuff around.

You already have ideas

Sitting down to write a story, I used to feel this awful responsibility to create something good. Now I treat drafting simply as documenting ideas I already have—not as creation at all, but as observation and description. I don’t wait around for good words or good ideas. I just skim off whatever’s floating on the surface and write it down. It’s that which allows other, potentially better ideas to surface.

As a younger writer, my misery and frustration perpetuated themselves: suppressing so many thoughts made my writing cramped and inhibited, which convinced me I had no ideas, which made me even more afraid to write lest I discover how empty inside I really was. That was my fear, I guess: if I looked squarely at my innocent, unvetted, unvarnished ideas, I’d see how bad they truly were, and then I’d have to—what, pack up and go home? Never write again? I don’t know. But when I stopped rejecting ideas and started dumping them onto the page, the worst didn’t happen. In fact, it was a huge relief.


Next post: the practice of shitty first drafts

Ask me a question or send me feedback!

Voltron actor AU where everything’s the same but Voltron is a live-action TV show and the paladins are actors:

  • Their names are the same in real life. They go by different names in the show. 
  • Keith and Lance still have a “rivalry.” Red and Blue didn’t originally have it, but when the cast first met and the directors saw how Keith and Lance interacted, they wanted to write it in. 
  • Shiro’s arm is still a prosthetic, although the scar is fake.
    • sometimes the makeup crew forgets the scar. literally no one notices until it’s the end of filming
    • “Shiro…” “Huh?” “…they forgot the sca–” “are yOU FUC–”
  •  Shiro, Keith, Lance, Hunk, and Allura all do their own stunts. 
    • Pidge is only 17 and their mom won’t sign the waiver for them to do their own stunts. 
  • No one really knows how their little production company was able to afford hiring Allura, who’s a big time actress and super talented.
    • they eventually find out that she’s a giant mecha/space nerd and came to /them/ asking for a role and willing to do it for free
  • No one really knows if Coran has a script or if he was told to just say whatever
  • Lance calls Keith “Red” so often that Keith thinks Lance has forgotten his name
    • he hasn’t.
  • The paladins, Allura, Coran, and basically all the actors boycott after season 2, demanding retribution for the way they wrote Hunk and Lance’s characters. 
  • Hunk has an engineering degree in real life.  
  • Matt isn’t Pidge’s real life brother, but when they first meet it goes something like: “baby sister!” “big brother!” and they end up inseparable.
    • Pidge’s mother is known for calling Pidge at work just to talk to her son, Matt 
  • Hunk and Shay’s on-screen chemistry was actually a real thing. Shay was cast at the same time that she was working in the costume/design department, so they’d known each other since the show started. 
    • they’re dating now
  • Every time Lance’s character hits on Allura’s on-screen Lance spends five minutes defending Blue’s character after filming 
    • “he just craves attention, okay? he just wants love!! he’s smart and beautiful and wants to belonG”
    • despite this, Lance is basically his character minus that shoddy writing in season 2
  • Keith and Lance have their own shipping fanbase. It starts out with just their characters, but then Some Mysterious Person starts taking candids between sets and posting them online and klance is born
    • it’s Pidge. Pidge runs five fan accounts. 
    • the pictures are super incriminating, but no one shows them to Lance or Keith
    • there’s a betting pool on when they’ll get together
  • Keith gets super into his roles and ends up genuinely upset after filming the scenes where the princess reacts badly to Red being part Galra. 
    • Allura gives him a 15 minute hug after
  • Bonding Moment Discourse is actually a thing. There was a prop malfunction on set while they were filming and the directors told them to stay put, so Lance ended up being Cradled for a solid half hour.
    • later, they find out that they could’ve moved and just chilled for that time, instead of actually holding each other.
    • “I get it Keith, I get it. You just wanted to hold me. Who doesn’t amiright??”   

A new something to tear at ur hearts. o(๑❛ꇳ❛๑)o

Cux I’m really an evil person to the core. <3 

Am sorry but as much as I like Gabe, I like torturing him even more hence I regret nothing. Once again, angst76 shit. :3

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berena + @ao3tagoftheday (3/?)

bonus:

Jean Moreau ‘firsts’ to consider:

  • the first time Jean allowed himself to enjoy a blue sky
    • the trojans had dragged him off to a picnic for “team bonding” and it was the first time he’d been allowed to look at the sky without Riko looming over him
  • the first time Jean felt the grass under his fingers
    • on that same picnic, while Laila and Alvarez were wrestling playfully nearby, Jean looked at the grass under the blanket and ran his hands over it and was in awe at how smooth it was
  • the first time Jean went to a party
    • the Trojans just won a game and wanted to celebrate, so of course they made Jean come along, and at first he’d been apprehensive, but then Jeremy grinned at him and it turned out to be not so bad
  • the first time Jean genuinely smiled
    • unsurprisingly, it was because of Jeremy, who made a stupid pun that Jean wanted to groan at, but he found it humorous somehow so he just… couldn’t help it
  • the first time Jean failed and didn’t beat himself up over it
    • the Trojans rarely lose a game, but sometimes Jean can’t stop a shot that should have been easy. One day he can’t block a shot and he’s surprised to realize he’s just thought “I’ll do better next time”
  • the first time Jean lets himself love
    • it’s not just Jeremy, but also Laila and Alvarez, who show him that love isn’t supposed to be painful or possessive or suffocating and who give him the courage to let the team love him
    • even Jeremy
    • (especially Jeremy)
💰✨Broke Witch Tips✨💰
  • Wal-Mart has incense sticks/cones in packs of 40 for 84¢ and a standard wood burners for 84¢ as well. Add the cost of a lighter and you can now cleanse anything for less than $4.00
  • If you want to get a little fancier, Wal-Mart also has decorative incense stick holders and cone covers from $4-$10 I have a flower blossom stick holder I got for $5 that not only looks adorable but comes with quite a bit of incense in the set
  • Around back to school time, notebooks are very cheap-for my first/rough draft grimoire I got a pretty pink composition notebook for 50¢ and a pack of pens for $1.00-use this to record all the information you want to put in your final draft grimoire here (and honestly it’s great to have just a little book that I don’t care if it gets battered up)
  • Like pasta? Save your sauce jars, wash them out well, and BOOM-spell jars.  I’ve been living off shells with Alfredo sauce and I’m saving up tons and tons of jars
  • DOLLAR STORES-literally most of my witchy stuff I got at my local dollar store. Dollar stores are the absolute best for finding candles. They have tall candles, short candles, tea candles, votive candles, scented candles, unscented candles, LED candles, candle holders, you name it, dollar stores have it. So far from my local dollar store I’ve gotten
    • 3 tall, unscented candles in glass jars (1 white, 1 yellow and 1 blue)
    • a 16 PACK of unscented tea candles. that’s right, SIXTEEN. for a DOLLAR. that’s less than 10¢ a candle
    • a really adorable holder for said tea candles
    • a 2 pack of white, unscented taper candles
    • a medium sized LED candle (batteries were included in this one, but that was the only one I could find with batteries included, however most dollar stores also sell batteries)
  • Don’t have the space for a big tabletop altar (also for closeted witches)? a tin of mints is around $2.50 and, empty of mints, makes a great tiny, hide-able altar space. it fits conveniently in a purse or bag and won’t arouse suspicion. Tape sigils to the inside, spell recipes on tiny cards, chants, a tea light and a lighter, the possibilities are endless
  • follow crystal shops on Instagram, a lot of crystal shops will have ‘flash sales’ on social media, so you can scoop up great crystals for a good price
Can't imagine my otp taking a shower 'cause what if they kept fighting over the water temperature
  • Person A: the water is too cold
  • Person B: babe, the water is fine.
  • Person A: no. literally. i'm just gonna turn the hot tab a li-
  • Person B: FUCK THAT'S TOO HOT ARE YOUR TRYING TO KILL ME?
  • Person A: oh come on, don't exaggerate! it's only like two degrees hotter-
  • Person B: nooo let's just- *slightly adjusts water temperature*
  • Person A: *literally jumps out of shower* OK I JUST WANTED TO TAKE A SHOWER NOT RECREATE THE TITANIC SCENE
  • Person B: it's not my fault you like your shower scalding hot like what do you do in there? Practice damnation?
  • Person A: -_-
  • Person B: babe
  • Person A: no
  • Person B: love
  • Person A: i think i'll just- i think it's safer for both of our skins if i wait outside for you to finish?
  • Person B: ok :)
  • Person A: *gets out*
  • Person B: *singing* ICE ICE BABY
  • Person A: BITCH I SWEAR TO GOD-
i once knew a man
he thought his heart was big enough for the world
with his heart, he tried to lift it
and with his arms, he tried to hold it
(and lord, did he try.)

i once knew a man
but like all men, they never think they can die
like all men, he never stopped doing what killed him
and on his tombstone was written the saddest of words:
(he tried.)
—  you are not Atlas; you cannot shoulder the world alone | m.a.w