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Welcome to #1stDraftDiary – an Experiment by ER Murray

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Article by ERMurray © 10 June 2016.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

FullSizeRender (52)People regularly ask me how I write a first draft in a month, and I mumble my way through a barely comprehensible answer but in truth, I don’t really know. I just do it. And so, this inability to answer what should be an easy enough question has inspired a new social media project –#1stdraftdiary  – that I hope you’ll find interesting.

You see, when I write, and I get to the end, I forget all the work that went into it, the challenges and difficulties, the highs and moments of clarity; they all fade into a big fuzz. I don’t remember all the revisions or the edits, and by the time it’s actually finished – as in, been through the editing process, the copy edits, the proofs – I remember nothing of what went on to get it to that point. All I am certain of is that the first draft was written in a month, because this is the approach that works for me.

And so, I decided to try something new (to me anyway): a record of writing a first draft in a month, in real time. Check out the hashtag #1stdraftdiary on twitter to see what I mean (you don’t have to have a twitter account to follow the hashtag)!

Now, this is by no means a competitive project. There’s far too much of that around already and as authors we have enough to strive for/fail at/beat ourselves up about; it’s simply an experiment, a reaction to a question I repeatedly get asked and have no proper way of responding to.

#1stdraftdiary is an honest record of word counts and feelings and barriers and challenges, and hopefully it will amount to something that will reveal to me, not just other interested parties, what writers can go through as they write. All writers are different, so it’s just one lone ranger going for it, but it might help trigger or kick start something for someone else, or consolidate something in their own writing process. Who knows? I certainly don’t. After all, I can’t even explain my own writing process!

On twitter, I’m keeping the #1stdraftdiary chat writing specific, but I’m also going to blog on here and my own website about some of the other stuff that goes on behind the scenes during the day/week and how writing fits into my overall schedule.

It feels a little revealing and may turn out a big horrible mess with my usual process failing me but hey –that’s all part of it. As writers, we’ve got to be brave, right?

I hope you’ll interact with me as I bare my poor writing soul – and if you like the idea and you’re starting a WIP, why not join in too? I’d love to see how other people work too!


Follow Elizabeth online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Elizabeth Rose Murray lives in West Cork where she writes, fishes, and grows her own vegetables. Her first book for young adults Caramel Hearts (Alma Books) was published June 2016. Her debut novel for children aged 10-12, The Book of Learning - Nine Lives Trilogy 1 (Mercier Press) was chosen as the 2016 Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read for Children and the follow-up The Book of Shadows - Nine Lives Trilogy 2 was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book Awards. The final installment The Book of Revenge will be published in February 2018.

Elizabeth has poetry and short fiction published in journals across the UK and Ireland - including Ogham Stone, Southword, South Circular, Esc and 3am - and has been shortlisted in various competitions including TV3AM Short Story, Francis MacManus, and Aesthetica Creative Works. She has also performed in Ciudades Paralelas: Station - a live writing installation.

Hoping to encourage new writers, Elizabeth provides manuscript reports and online writing courses through Inkwell Writers and Big Smoke Writing Factory. She is a regular at literary festivals, and offers adult workshops on writing for children and young adults, as well as multiple events and workshops for children and teens.

You can connect with Elizabeth on Twitter @ERMurray, Facebook www.facebook.com/ERMurray.Author or her blog www.ermurray.com