Shitty First Drafts: An 8-Week Group (Fall 2017)

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” ~ Anne Lamott, from Bird by Bird

Cramped and insane? Yep. Been there, done that, as the saying goes. I’m guessing if you write, you have, too.

I write so much more now that I recognize the voice of the oppressor in my head. It can sound like so many things — a parent, a teacher who shut you down early, friends whose fears slip out disguised as concern, society with its hammering of messages about what counts and who does and doesn’t get to say, “I’m a writer.”

But oh! How freeing it is to remove this sharp hook from inside of your own cheek, so that your voice can find its way to the page more freely. A lot of what we write when we give ourselves permission to suck will never see the light of day. But here’s the thing — and I’ve seen this again and again: We write a lot more when we’re writing imperfectly than when we’re not writing at all.

Here’s the thing: There is no secret.

There are just lots and lots and LOTS of shitty first drafts. And not even those appear out of the blue; they require us to sit down, start, and keep going. To explore, to take risks, to pay attention to the hot spots as well as where we’re diluting the truth.

Here’s another thing: It can make a world of difference to have a wee bit of structure.  That’s how this new 8-week, 8-person group came to be, and I am so excited to share it with you!

About the SFD group:

Over the course of 8 weeks, you’ll chip away at the ice block of content with a pickaxe — I mean, pen — working with the principle that something is more than nothing. Eventually, as a result of hanging in there, showing up, and experimenting, some shape will become apparent.

  • Start each week  with creative suggestions and exercises designed to shake loose your inner critic and discover greater ease and access to your stories.
  • Choose your own writing topics, but meet the page with a sense of tangible purpose and direction.
  • Each week will build on the last, in an iterative process that will result in some shitty first drafts for you to discard or pursue.
  • Discuss your own creative process — the good, the bad, and the ugly — in two hour-long private coaching calls.
  • Benefit from reading other people’s SFDs and exchanging support, encouragement, and ideas inside our secret group.

Who should join:

Anyone who wants to produce more pages but finds that perfectionism and procrastination interfere with progress. This group is open to all gender identities and expressions as well as to all genres, though creative nonfiction and personal essay will likely comprise most of the writing.  No previous experience in writing groups necessary. Pickaxe not required.

Risks and possible side-effects:

Heightened self-awareness, greater curiosity and sense of inquiry, deepening sense of trust in your own quirky and wondrous creative process, and increased willingness to keep going in the face of not knowing may all arise as secondary byproducts of this group.

Dates:

October 30 – December 22, 2017

Cost:

$499, paid in three installments (see below)

Register + Payment:

Reserve your spot today with a non-refundable $99 deposit. You will be automatically billed for two additional installments of $200, four and eight weeks after registering.


Payment Plan
Number of payments 3
No. Due* Amount
1 At checkout $99.00 USD
2 after 4 weeks $200.00 USD
3 after 8 weeks $200.00 USD
Total $499.00 USD
* We calculate payments from the date of checkout.
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