continuing the writing process: drafting


Drafting is the second step in the writing process (I shared the first step, idea-generation, yesterday).

Before you sit down to write a draft, decide on a topic. I write first thing in the morning every day, six days a week. The night before, I make sure that I have written down the topic I’m going to tackle during my early morning writing session. This allows my brain to start organizing my thoughts on the topic overnight so that I am ready to write it all down when I wake up.

Last night I wrote down that I would be writing about these three steps of the writing process: idea-generation, drafting, and editing. Because I let my brain sort out my thoughts on the topics while I was sleeping, I was able to draft all three, totaling 1655 words, in about two hours. Later I’ll edit this long draft into three concise, clear sections — one of which you’re reading right now — but that’s a separate step. For now, I’m drafting, which means I’m not editing.

{today’s exercise}

Ready to tackle the drafting stage? Get out the list of topic ideas that you started yesterday. Draft three poems drawing inspiration from topics #3, #6, and #9 on your list.

As you draft these poems, don’t censor yourself or edit as you go along. You’ll get to do that tomorrow. For now, just write. If you don’t like the direction your poem is going, change the direction, even if it means abandoning a phrase mid-thought. Keep writing. If you’re stuck on the wording of a phrase, reword it, but don’t break the forward momentum of drafting by using the delete key. Instead, write the same phrase over and over, tweaking the wording each time. Keep writing. Don’t allow yourself to consider whether or not the poem you’re drafting is any good. Save that for the editing stage. Keep writing.

{my process & my poems}

Here are my three drafts, exactly as I drafted them with no cleaning-up. You can compare them to the finished poems tomorrow.

Topic: How can the rain be both refreshing and destructive?

I watch the rain runs down the window glass
down the driveway
down the street
It washes away the dust of summer
the dust of chalk
the dust of ??? [something to parallel “street”]
It seeps into the windowpane window sill
makes the sidewalk slippery

It makes the window hard to see through
makes the sidewalk
makes the roads flood

I watch the rain.
How can it be so refreshing
and yet so destructive?

Topic: chores

Necessary evils?
Whether hard labor or mundane tasks
chores will always be there.
Necessary, yes, but must they be seen as evil?

Why not chose to enjoy them?

Back breaking hard labor
can become a workout —
and you don’t have to pay for a gym membership

Mundane, mindless tasks
give you an opportunity to think —
freedom to daydream without worrying that you’re wasting time.

Topic: Bare feet in the grass

When was the last time
you were barefoot in the grass?
your bare feet felt the grass?

Was it when you were a child?
Or have you allowed yourself
this childlike pleasure recently?

I did just yesterday.
Watering the flowers, weeds tickling my legs.

It’s a simple sensory pleasure.
There’’s a reason children like to take their shoes off
and run in the grass.
Do you remember?
Why not try it again?
You might like it just as much today
as you did the last time.