As the new year rolled around, I realized I hadn’t written a word since my father passed away over Labor Day Weekend. It seems my muse died along with Dad and I had no desire to write. I also hadn’t been back to one of my local RWA chapter meetings since the spring (we don’t have meetings over the summer), so I made a point of going to the meeting in November. The guest speaker was Candace Havens and among the things she talked about was her Fast Draft Method.
In Fast Draft, she writes 20 pages a day for 14 days. By the end of that time, she has 280 manuscript pages and a first draft of her book. She admits it ain’t pretty, it ain’t polished, but it’s a huge start on the way to a completed novel. Sounds daunting. After all, I did NANO two years ago and it was tough. But it was 50,000 words in 31 days, which comes down to about 6-7 pages a day -- not freakin’ 20!
Still, if you break it down, it does sound *theoretically* doable. I’m a SAHM, so basically I have 9-3 to write 5 days a week if I don’t do anything else, like laundry, grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, walk the dog, take a shower…you know, have a life. I don’t rely on getting much writing done on weekends. Sometimes I get lucky and crank out a few pages, but most weekends, my time is not my own. So back to that 9-3 day job. That’s 6 hours. Divided by 20, it’s a little over 3 pages an hour. Shoot, anyone can do 3 pages an hour, right? Evidently not me.
I joined a crew with some of my fellow chapter mates so we could keep each other accountable. I turned out to be an epic failure after the first few days. After not writing a word for 4 ½ months, my writing skills are beyond rusty. Seriously, you can’t run a marathon if you haven’t jogged in months, and I hadn’t been on the writing treadmill in far too long. Will I ever be the writing ninja that Candace Havens is? Probably not. But while I may have failed at this first effort, doing Fast Draft did do something for me. It’s got me writing again. It’s slow, and not always good, but I am getting words on the page. And to me, that’s a good thing.