January 27 | -28°C 🌔 | DAY 306 @ 🏡
📖 “The Social Photo: On Photography and Social Media” by Nathan Jurgenson
Another first draft finished with less than thirteen hours to spare.
Short stories are fun to write. Especially the first draft. You just have to have a word count in mind, and focus on a topic. It can look like absolute shit, and that’s okay. Why? The answer is easy: “None of it matters.” No one will ever see that draft unless you want feedback on it. If you’re looking for feedback, you want to prepare yourself to have your words ripped to shreds, so you’re going to want to keep some emotional distance. It’s okay to pour your heart out onto the page, as long as you accept that you are going to to have to be ruthless with your editing.
You’ll take that first draft, put it down on the table for the weekend and walk away from it. Then, you’ll return on Monday with a ruler and a red pen. This is where you read over what you wrote, go to the kitchen, make a cup of coffee, and then return to your writing area. You’ll take a sip of your coffee, wonder why you keep buying that brand, then start crossing out everything in your story that you know does not belong there. Scratch out entire lines, write new ones below, leave notes in the margins, and add those goddamn commas.
Take that draft over to your computer, write it out with your revisions, then read it over again. It’s still not right. Not yet, but in a couple of days it will be when you revise it again. For now, print it out and put it next to your first draft. Assuming you didn’t mark it up too much, read that first draft again. It’s pretty bad right? It sure sounds a lot better when you read it out loud, and all those precious words you couldn’t live without are nowhere to be found.
I am in no way a professional writer, but I do enjoy the process. It keeps me focused on getting better at my craft, and keeps my mind off of the pandemic, unemployment, debts and all the other things that are stressing me out right now. This is something I can control. It’s something that I can get better at, and so can you. All it takes is practice, the desire to write one word after another until you have a story, and the willingness to slash away all those unnecessary words.
That last line is something I should probably put into practice on these blog posts, but I like treating them as twenty minute free writing sessions.