I’m pretty busy, working part-time, keeping my girls from maiming one another, still unpacking from the move, and trying to keep our new home clean and somewhat organized. I don’t get out much, and stay in touch with my friends primarily through Facebook. But oh man, is it a timesuck. You jump on to say “Hey,” see what everyone is up to, and before you know it, you’ve whiled away the past hour looking at funny cat pictures, getting into political arguments with people you don’t know, and reading story after story linked from Gawker.
At least, that’s what I do. Then I complain I have no time to write.
Back in the late fall, before the move, I went on a two-week Facebook sabbatical, to see if it really made a difference. Know what happened?
I wrote a book. A 60,000 word book. In two weeks. Granted, it was garbage, as pretty much all first drafts are. What, you think Nora Roberts spits out polished prose ready for the NYT bestseller’s list? She actually calls her own process of drafting vomiting out the words on to the page, or something like that. She says “you can fix anything but a blank page,” so you have to make the pages not blank.
In the fall, and this week, I am using a process called Fast Draft by the amazing Candace Havens. A couple weeks of prep – getting to know your characters, basic plotting – and then two weeks of no-holds barred, all-out word vomiting until you type “The End.” No editing allowed.
This process is not for everyone, but it worked for me. To do it, though, I have to give up Facebook, and fall behind on my TV watching. I discovered the last time that I can do without “Bones” and “Glee” for a couple weeks. It was tough, but I lived to tell the story.
What about the other social media timesuck, Twitter? I actually found Twitter to be a helpful tool during the Fast Draft process. I use Tweet Deck, and I can set it up so I can only see special feeds or mentions. That way I avoid the clog of entertaining, but useless, feeds while I am hunkered down writing. The Fast Drafters used a special hashtag, and tracked one another’s progress, like word counts during our daily writing sprints of 15, 30, 60 minutes. Seeing how these other busy ladies could get their word counts in throughout the day inspired me to do the same. And. It. Worked.
So I bid you adieu, sweet Facebook, for two weeks. I will miss you and my lovely friends. But at the end of two weeks,I will have birthed a new baby novel, ready for shaping and revising and submitting.
And hopefully selling. Because if I don’t sell something soon, my husband’s gonna make me go get a job where I can’t work in sweats. And nobody wants to see that happen.