When it comes to rough drafts, it’s all about production. Get something done.
I don’t like production writing. Rough drafts are always bad and I don’t like producing crappy work. Yes, I understand it’s the necessary first step yada yada. That doesn’t make it any easier to accomplish.
Enter writing buddies. Shared misery makes it more tolerable. There’s empathy. A hour of buddy writing can yield good results. Production happens.
Unfortunately, a typical rough draft can be three times the size of its final form. If I’m writing a novel or a user manual, I’m talking big word counts.
Enter writing marathons.
Natalie Goldberg is credited with popularizing the writing marathon concept. Her version involves several iterations of timed writes (often prompted) followed by short readings. Differing versions of her original program have since developed, the most well-known being the Annual New Orleans Writing Marathon sponsored by The Writing Project of Southeastern Louisiana University (SELU). SELU’s website http://english.selu.edu/writingmarathon has become the how-to home base for writing marathons around the globe.
A writing marathon makes fast work of that first purple draft. It’s also a great way to jumpstart a
fledgling project or push seasoned work into completion. Well-orchestrated marathons can inspire participants of every skill level into generating remarkable output with surprisingly little difficulty. The key is the iterative structure supported by changing surroundings, short periods of sharing, physical movement (usually walking), strong leadership and periodic instruction, motivation, and problem-solving.
I’ll be conducting just such an experience on Jan 25th, 8 AM to 8 PM starting at the Book Fare Café above Village Books. The price is quite reasonable: $69. Sponsored by Whatcom Community College, Village Books, and the Fairhaven Village Inn, the Winter Writing Marathon is a precursor to the already successful Chuckanut Writers Conference http://chuckanutwritersconference.com/home/
Of course not everyone has the time to attend. If this is your dilemma, then get busy and create your own marathon. Develop an agenda, set a date, invite friends, serve snacks and make sure everyone sticks to the schedule. There’s no reason we can’t all benefit from Goldberg’s concept. Let’s make 2013 a spectacular year not just for production writing, but also for manuscript completion.
Time’s a-passing, writers. Are you game?
For more information about the Winter Writing Marathon in Fairhaven, http://events.sfgate.com/bellingham_wa/events/show/295333365-winter-writing-marathon
Contact Dawn Groves, email@example.com