thought it was time i clear out my drafts

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!

Socks - Harrison Osterfield x Reader

Pairing: Harrison Osterfield x Reader

Summary/Prompt: Your soulmates first thoughts about you are tattooed onto your skin 

Warnings: None

A/N: This is based off of the New York premiere of Lost City of Z aka when Harrison wore a blue suit with red socks (I’m still concerned wtf)

Another A/N: I’m done writing about Harrison, this has just been in my drafts for months and I wanted to clear it out. 

Keep reading


I remember the first time I saw the Orion nebula from a cruiser, the interstellar dust bursting with all manner of color against the black vastness of space. I stared out of that viewpost thinking one day I might know the full limits of our universe, one day I could comprehend its depths and see every uncharted corner. But in just one second I knew the opposite was true of her, this woman who had just punched Delaney- I thought I could spend a whole lifetime with her and not even know a fraction of her. 

The Dinner


It was coming up on two weeks since Cameron left to report for duty. The time went by fast but that was because i kept myself busy scheduling clients back to back. Cam and i FaceTimed almost every night usually until he or i would fall asleep. Some nights we had a little fun (😉) but most nights we just stayed up talking. He was so funny and had me crackin up about stories from his day. But as much as i enjoyed our FaceTime calls, i was ready for him to come back home because i was missing our sessions more than anything. He told me he was coming back from base on Memorial day and i was lit because i knew i was getting some (much needed) dick that same night. The only plans i made for memorial day was a dinner at my parent’s house that evening with my half-brother and his family, but that night i had no other plans than to have my legs wrapped around Cam. 

Growing up as a military brat, my family always took federal holidays pertaining to the service very seriously. Memorial day was like our Pre-Fourth-of-July and normally on holidays, my brother would drop in to celebrate. Jeremy (half-brother) and I were never really close growing up though, reason being was that he was a product of my dad’s first marriage. His Ex-wife was jealous of my parent’s relationship so in spite of his happiness, she kept his son from him. When Jeremy was old enough, he started coming around on his own, learning that the lies his mother told him about his dad and “his new family” weren’t true. Since then, Jeremy always made an effort to come around at least on the holidays.

I had spent majority of the afternoon at my parent’s house helping with dinner prep and talking with my mom and Summer (Sister-in-law) and playing with Liliana (niece) while my dad and Jeremy marinated then grilled the steaks.

When the food had finished cooking, everyone gathered to make their plates and headed out to the patio to enjoy the scenery and a nice meal. I had noticed my mom making an extra plate and setting out another placement at the table but i didn’t think much of it because I had my hands full with my busy-body niece who had finally fell asleep in my arms after playing all afternoon. By the time we all sat down at the table, Dad’s guest came walking through the house. i couldn’t make out the face, but the figure looked familiar. It wasn’t until he walked through the patio doors that i realized it was Cam. 

Surprised, I almost asked “what are you doing here?” but i caught myself because i didn’t want to be obvious that Cam and i have been talking since we met. But damn, i wish he would’ve given me a heads up that he was coming.

He walked towards his seat lookin all good and flashing that sexy ass smile of his. He greeted my parents first then stuck out his hand as he introduced himself to my brother and his wife. When it came to me, he greeted me subtly, acting like he couldn’t remember my name. I went along with it though. He knew how i felt about involving my parents in my business. They always over-analyzed everything and if i would have acted like i knew Cam like i know him, they would have internalized the relationship to make it seem like it was more than what it was and i didn’t want to go through all that with them. The twenty one questions, the “what are your intentions with my daughter?” type shit. And I know they do it because they care, but i just wasn’t ready for that yet. I barely knew anything about Cameron other than the fact that he could lay pipe and i wasn’t ready for an interrogation from my mom and dad about him. 

“Cameron, Thank you for joining us! We’re delighted to have you here.” My mom said as Cam took his seat. 

“Oh no, thank you for having me Mrs. Dianne. Everything looks delicious, wow.” 

“So Cameron, how are you liking your new position as a PO?” My dad asked taking a bite.

“I like it a lot. I’m definitely a lot busier when i get to base but it helps the time go by faster. The new schedule is nice too, two weeks on, two weeks off. It’s like having a vacation every month. And having a private living quarter is nice too. No more bunking with three other guys.” he replied taking a sip of his wine.

The whole while he and my dad were talking, i couldn’t help but look at him. i tried to be modest but he was so cute the way he interacted with my family. He was fitting right in, making us laugh, talking sports with my dad and Jeremy and even offered some advice to my mom about home repairs. I couldn’t take it, he was making me wet. I wanted to jump across the table and fuck him in his seat. I already knew he had me dickmatized, but now i was starting to become attracted to his personality too. I guess all the late night calls and cupcakin was starting to take an affect on me.

I guess my staring wasn’t as discrete as i hoped it was because when i looked up, Jeremy was looking dead at me smiling.

“Y’all fuckin?” he mouthed to me across the table.

“Shut up!” i mouthed back as my eyes got big and started smiling.

I looked around to see if anyone else was paying attention to me and Jeremy’s silent conversation but everyone else was swooning over Cam too. I looked back at Jeremy who was silently laughing to himself and shaking his head.

Damn. Was i being that obvious that even my older brother, who i never see, was able to tell? Shit. This is the first time that i’m seeing Cam like this. Actual boyfriend material and not just someone i’m fuckin. I was beginning to become infatuated with Cameron. And for the first time in months, I actually hadn’t thought about Stefon. 

After dinner was over Summer and I helped my mom clean up everything. I cleared the table while Summer and my mom packed up the extra food. Jeremy, Cam and my dad were inside the house still talking about sports and future football drafts. But i guess Cam somehow managed to sneak away from the conversation and make his way out to the patio where i was.

While i was outside grabbing the dirty dishes from the table, i felt a presence behind me and someone touch my arm. But i knew who it was so i didn’t have to look back. Cam hugged me tight and kissed my head.

“You look amazing.” he said still holding me tightly. 

“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?” i asked

“I wanted to surprise you. Did i?”

“Ummm, definitely, but it was a nice surprise. I’m glad you came though cuz I missed you.”

“Well how about after we finish here, we go to my place and you can show me how much you missed me?”

“Sounds good.” I said laughing as he and I finished picking up the rest of the dishes.

Originally posted by idolos-frases

Im glad Kala FINALLY getting her mind right!

Also Shout out to the CC creators! thanks yall for all the new CC yall been dropping. i’m loving it! everything is poppin!! ❤️❤️❤️


Enough branches had been removed from the roof to leave a smoke hole; I could see the evening stars, as I cuddled against Jamie and listened to him criticize his workmanship.

“Look at that,” he said crossly, lifting his chin at the far corner. “I’ve gone and laid in a crooked pole, and it’s put the whole of that line off the straight.”

“I don’t imagine the deer carcasses will care,” I murmured. “Here, let’s see that hand.”

“And the rooftree’s a good six inches lower at the one end than the other,” he went on, ignoring me, but letting me have his left hand. Both hands were smoothly callused, but I could feel the new roughnesses of scrapes and cuts, and so many small splinters that his palm was prickly to the touch.

“You feel like a porcupine,” I said, brushing my hand over his fingers. “Here, move closer to the fire, so I can see to pull them out.”

He moved obligingly, crawling around Ian, who—freshly de-splintered himself—had fallen asleep with his head pillowed on Rollo’s furry side. Unfortunately, the change of position exposed new weaknesses of construction to Jamie’s critical eye.

“You’ve never built a shed out of logs before, have you?” I interrupted his denunciation of the doorway, neatly tweaking a large splinter out of his thumb with my tweezers.

“Ow! No, but—”

“And you built the bloody thing in two days, with nothing but a felling ax and a knife, for God’s sake! There’s not a nail in it! Why ought you to expect it to look like Buckingham Palace?”

“I’ve never seen Buckingham Palace,” he said, rather mildly. He paused. “I do take your point, though, Sassenach.”

“Good.” I bent closely over his palm, squinting to make out the small dark streaks of splinters, trapped beneath the skin.

“I suppose it willna fall down, at least,” he said, after a longer pause.

“Shouldn’t think so.” I dabbed a cloth to the neck of the brandy bottle, swabbed his hand with it, then turned my attention to his right hand.

He didn’t speak for a time. The fire crackled softly to itself, flaring up now and then as a draft reached in between the logs to tickle it.

“The house is going to be on the high ridge,” he said suddenly. “Where the strawberries grow.”

“Will it?” I murmured. “The cabin, you mean? I thought that was going to be at the side of the clearing.” I’d taken out as many splinters as I could; those that were left were so deeply embedded that I would have to wait for them to work their way nearer the surface.

“No, not the cabin. A fine house,” he said softly. He leaned back against the rough logs, looking across the fire, out through the chinks to the darkness beyond. “Wi’ a staircase, and glass windows.”

“That will be grand.” I laid the tweezers back in their slot, and closed the box.

“Wi’ high ceilings, and a doorway high enough I shall never bump my heid going in.”

“That will be lovely.” I leaned back beside him, and rested my head on his shoulder. Somewhere in the far distance, a wolf howled. Rollo lifted his head with a soft wuff!, listened for a moment, then lay down again with a sigh.

“With a stillroom for you, and a study for me, lined with shelves for my books.”

“Mmmm.” At the moment, he possessed one book—The Natural History of North Carolina, published 1733, brought along as guide and reference.

The fire was burning low again, but neither of us moved to add more wood. The embers would warm us through the night, to be rekindled with the dawn.

Jamie put an arm around my shoulders, and tilting sideways, took me with him to lie curled together on the thick layer of fallen leaves that was our couch.

“And a bed,” I said. “You could build a bed, I expect?”

“As fine as any in Buckingham Palace,” he said.

—  Drums of Autumn (Outlander series) - Diana Gabaldon

the (mis)Adventures of Jamie the Architect #1

“Sam Winchester: Where My Demons Hide” by PinkGl8er2

I just really, really love this video. Most well-made fanvids of Sam Winchester that I have seen focus more on his downward spiral, but I like that this video focuses more on his confliction and inner struggle.

This is the reason I love Sam so much, not because he has cool abilities or is stunningly handsome (although he has both), but because he was conflicted and pushed around and had his whole life planned out for him from the get-go. He was destined to give in, but instead of just taking it as it came he told destiny to screw itself and did what he thought best… even if the end result was centuries of torture in the Cage and Hallucifer breathing down his neck every waking hour. A true and selfless hero, and will love him until the end of time. :)

Hold My Hand

Scenario: Imagine your OTP playing laser tag, and Person A is really bad at it so Person B protects them from everyone else.

A/N: I found this prompt a long ass time ago, and I thought it was cute. It immediately made me think of Jungkook. It’s just been sitting in my drafts (I’m clearing stuff out) and finally decided to finish it. I tried for cute.

Genre: Jungkook x Reader

Words: 1834

Originally posted by yoohngs

It probably wasn’t the greatest plan to agree to a game of laser tag with seven boys. You probably made it worse by talking a bigger game than you could back up. The entire drive to the laser tag arena left you biting your nails and looking out the window, struggling to formulate a lie good enough to get you out of it.

You hadn’t realized Jungkook had been watching your current nervous escapade. A teasing smirk lifting his cupid bow lips before he leaned in and whispered, “Hey,” causing you to almost jump into his lap. He only laughed off your light pokes into his side as your lips turned into a sour pout.

“You little brat,” you huffed.

Jungkook’s hands easily took hold of yours until you were the one left wiggling out of his grasp.

“What’s got you so nervous?”

“Who? Me? I’m not nervous. Not. At. All.”

Jungkook’s head tilted into the headrest. His dark eyes narrowing in on your position, the act making you sweat in a different form of frustration. It took you a couple times to swallow past the lump that formed in your throat from that stupid look he was giving you. You tore your gaze away as you looked up towards the front.

“You going to tell me or keep me in suspense?”

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Literati Headcanon

The time has come. The book is finished. There’s only one thing left to do. It’s time to write out the acknowledgments.

Thanking her mom and her grandparents all came so easy. But when it comes to the person who pushed her in the right direction, the person who’s idea it was for her to even write this book, her mind goes completely blank. Nothing sounds good enough. She knows she wants to thank him. She knows the impact he’s had in her life. And yet, she just can’t find the perfect words to express her gratitude.

Perhaps it’s because she never had to say those words out loud before. She never had to verbally express how thankful she is for him. Come to think of it, she never got to thank him for giving her that wake up call outside the pub in New Haven, she never even told him how much of an influence he had on her decision to return to Yale, and especially now how he was the sole reason why this book is coming to life.

For the past few months, he’s been the one who spent countless nights with her at the Stars Hollow Gazette where they’ve been working tirelessly on the book together. Usually, they would just order in a ton of food and work in silence. It was crazy how the silence, as well as their witty banter and thoughtful conversations, all came so natural and felt so comfortable. As if they didn’t need words to know exactly what the other was thinking. But every now and then, she’d break the silences and demand they order Indian food, which would always cause a back-and-forth. It would drive him crazy and he’d threaten to burn the building down, but he let her do it anyway. Just thinking about that made her smile.

On that late afternoon Jess gets a short message from Rory “Can’t put pen to paper. Need a break. See you tomorrow.”

It’s already dark outside when Jess arrives at the Gazette and everybody has long gone home. He turns on the little desk lamp, picks up Rory’s note pad that was laying on her mac book and obscured the power button and starts the laptop. Just as he was putting her notepad out of the way, totally lost in thought, something on the handwritten draft caught his attention. He saw his name appearing at the bottom half, followed by a long paragraph that was all scribbled out. It looked like every time she would start a sentence, she would stop midway, and ended up crossing everything out. There was one sentence at the very end though that was very clear and very legible.
“I couldn’t have done it without you”.

anonymous asked:

Can u tell the story of how you got your url? I always imagine that people with usernames like yours were the first users of tumblr or something

It was the summer of 1969. I was 17. I had just graduated from high school. I thought I was invincible. I thought I was king of the world. Little did I know that my whole world was about to change…forever.

My buddy Vince and I, in an effort to postpone the adult world for as long as possible had gotten heavily into hallucinogens and German expressionism. We started going everywhere in black leotards and face paint. Vince had a mini tape recorder he kept in his pocket to simulate the sound of an orchestra playing us into and out of  every room that crossed our path. We didn’t speak but we got really good at mime. I considered my acting a bit heavy handed but Vince was always there to give me confidence…and him? He was the best.  We got an apartment together and we called it the cabinet. Vince starting getting hardcore in Somnambulism. I tried it. I won’t lie,  but i just couldn’t follow him down that dark path.

When September rolled around and all of our high school friends were going off to college or going off to war, Vince and I stayed wrapped in the warm embrace of youthful freedom. Our draft cards hadn’t been called so Vince suggested we take his Somnambulist act on the road. He started calling himself Cesare and me “the Doctor.”

Things spiraled out of control. People got hurt. People got killed.  I had to clear my head. About that time, there were some murmurings in the underground about a new high. A new high called “blogging.” I decided to try it. I thought I could only do it once and walk away. I thought wrong. I rolled up my sleeve and put the belt around my arm and I logged in to tumblr dot com. I typed “internet” into the desired url box and I pressed inject. It was all downhill from there…

Why we may never meet Baby Watson

I’ve posted various theories on the pregnancy before, and I still don’t think we have enough clues to come up with one as the clear probable case. Mary’s faking it? Maybe. John’s not the father? Possibly. Stillborn? Parentlock? Baby is an alien? Sure, why not.

Then I started thinking about the few times from the end of TSo3 onward that the baby is actually mentioned. And from a writer’s perspective, one thing started to stick out. But that thing is…well, a bit not good.

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slycooperandcarlosfox  asked:

ZoopleCoop, Sly and Carmelita take Judy and Nick on time travel adventures.

J: Oh, wow, I’m so excited!! Gosh, it’s really hard to pick something, though… Ooh! I want to see the founding of Zootopia! Or, or, go on an adventure with Jack Whitefang, the first predator to ever join the ZPD! Or maybe go back even further! See what my ancestors were like in cavemammal times!

S: Great stuff! All awesome ideas :D

N: Can… can we maybe go back to when my dad was still alive? I don’t expect to… change anything… I just want to tell him tha-

S: No. (:


Killian Jones being a cute puppy in love