What are the rules?
As far as I can tell, there’s nothing set in stone, but here’s what I needed to pull this off:
- Fully fleshed out character interview (10 pages for each character done ahead of time) and a solid outline, preferably revised a few times before starting.
- A set amount of protected time. (For me – all day Friday, 7-12 on Saturday and late that night, pieces of Sunday and also late that night, and all day Monday.)
- Verbal commitment from hubby who understood that I needed those protected times and a promise from me to take him out for dinner for his birthday Saturday night.
- Permission to wear comfy clothes or whatever outfit was most conducive to writing lots.
- Permission to sit wherever I could write lots
Here’s what happened (times are approximate)
Friday 7-9am – Shiny object! Day off work! Surf Internet and read other folks’ blogs and writing articles. Polish up website. Check electronic medical records (EMR) at work to sign off orders and put out fires.
Friday 9-12 – Guilty about not writing, so wrote nonstop. Took breaks q15 minutes to check Twitter/Facebook because I’m easily distractible.
Friday 12-5 – Lunch, then more writing. And 30 minutes on the treadmill + shower in there somewhere. One more round on the office EMR.
Friday 5-8 – Hubby how-was-your-week time. Took him out to dinner this evening, BTW.
Friday 8-midnight – Writing lots. (end of day = approx. 6K)
Saturday 7-8 – Surfing, emails, checking office stuff one more time because…kind of a workaholic, yeah.
Saturday 8-2 – Hubby is fishing, hooray! Other than the occasional text of some brownish green fish of indeterminate size he’s obviously proud to show me, I am writing uninterrupted and feeling like stuff is flowing. Like, I just look up at the ceiling, think about the scene and type away. That kind of zone.
Saturday 2-5 – Hubby is back home, chatting about fish size and then dinner ensues. Also got 55 minutes on the treadmill + shower.
Saturday 5-12 – Lots of writing. End the day at 16K words, feeling pretty stoked. But I’m going to have to turn up the afterburners to get to goal.
Sunday 9-2 – Writing. (Slept in because up late the night before) Hubby is nice enough to go shopping and to the coffee shop to give me some quiet time. No treadmill today. Too tired.
Sunday 2-7 – Cleaned portions of house, by no means complete. I knew the environmental conditions were deteriorating beyond human tolerances when hubby announced he would “take care of” the vacuuming. He only does that when the dust bunnies unionize and revolt. Also hubs and I watched The Martian which was a good movie but the book was better, IMHO.
Sunday 7-1am – Wrote my little heart out, interrupted a few times by hubby wandering in to ask random questions and see how things were going. He went to bed at 9. I kept writing… Ended day at 24K words, feeling really good, almost on a high. Could be lack of sleep.
Monday 7-8 – Went to check on patient at hospital. Yes, I’m on vacation. Yes, it’s a long story. Please note the 6 hours of sleep. I did not believe I could complete the project near target on that little sleep.
Monday 8-12 – Wrote like my pants were on fire. Hubby at work. Only occasional “I’m bored, send kitty pictures” texts from hubs.
Monday 12-5 – More writing + lunch + 30 minutes on treadmill. By a miracle of God, finished up at 7pm with a decent “the end” and 37K+ words. (Target goal 35-40K)
Now, time to let the manuscript marinate for a few days and revise, which of course takes longer when you fastdraft, and for obvious reasons. But now I have the really big picture and that’s when other questions and hole-fillers appear. So we’ll see if I can get the revisions done in time for deadline. I will update if the final product fails to materialize as a result of fastdrafting.
What I learned:
- Write down questions and text markers within the text or at the beginnings of chapters and just keep going. (For example : “add scene where bad guy makes more detailed threats” or “add in more stuff about her ex”, “bring up issues about struggle w/ culture earlier”)
- Certain music helps to write faster and stay awake. Put in the earplugs and pick some tunes. (I like Sia tunes where David Guetta has mixed them into dance music.) It helps stay focused.
- I would be so much more productive if the Internet did not exist.
- No way could I have done this in a normal work week.
- I cannot do anything else when fastdrafting. No domestic stuff, no work stuff, no significant running.
- This brain will not turn off after that much of a concentrated level of creativity. I did not expect to experience inability to sleep because more ideas kept popping up. Keeping a pad and paper next to the bed helps.
- There IS a maximum amount of diet Dr. Pepper someone can drink before they start feeling hung-over the next morning.
I hope this gives folks who write but also have a “day job” some hope or at least some ideas to get their book created faster. If you have any comments or questions, let me know. I’m not an expert in anything but what I just did here this weekend. And chocolate. I'm at expert level 10 for chocolate and could be quoted liberally in the press regarding chocolate consumption.
For more fallout, check out Fastdrafting Part 3: Revisions