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The Junk Drawer

August 25, 2010

I don’t know about you, but there’s a particular drawer in my kitchen that’s in total disarray. You couldn’t find anything in there unless you were already accustomed to the messiness (like my family). Honestly, you might think an army of highly destructive mini-people had been released inside it.

(And by the way, if my mom ever reads this, she’d be embarrassed, so it’s a good thing she’s so busy. Read now because this post might not be here someday.)

Anyway, in addition to invisible destructive mini-people, that drawer is home to every single small item that doesn’t have a home. It’s the junk drawer, and I like to think it’s happy being insanely disorganized. (You know, some inanimate objects like that.) We go to it for everything from stray pencils, to glue, to hair bands.

I think it’s important to have a junk drawer, where everything’s acceptable and no one’s judging. Do you have  junk drawer? Do you have one for your writing?

Yes, I’m encouraging a place where you put bits and pieces of everything. Where no one will judge content or skill or grammar. Where you can jam that McDonald’s napkin that has a random first line written in lip gloss.

The Lemonites was born from a first line, which sprouted into a totally ridiculous 3,000 words of something I can’t even describe. Almost everything was scrapped except for the characters and the fact that a sister had died. The actual idea for the plot came to me while I was waiting for Circ De Sole to begin in April, and I somehow managed to tie my idea to the characters. Then I wrote another ridiculous first scene, and then I wrote what I have now (which will definitely change), after cracking up in the car with my family when a lady said “Go away” through the microphone at a drive-thru.

If I hadn’t kept those 3,000 words of nonsense and flailing story-lines , I wouldn’t have the actually half-decent first draft that I’m proud of. It’s still teetering on the edge of ridiculous, but I can fix that. You can’t fix something you gave up on and threw away.

I mean, I didn’t even know what the main character’s name was until thousands of words in (which might be one of the main reasons it’s written in first person).

Keep the bits and pieces of craziness and stuff that seemed inspired but on reflection you believe might have been inspired by a dumpster. Keep it locked up, if you wish (and I seriously advise against keeping it in the kitchen), but don’t throw the key out the window.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2010 4:57 PM

    That’s a great analogy–we all need a junk drawer for our ideas. Mine’s getting full. 😛

  2. Gabrielle permalink
    August 26, 2010 1:18 PM

    I have a drunk wait, no, junk. I have a junk drawer! And I went through it I never really realized how much still I have in it, how much stuff that I really have but shouldn’t have in that drawer. But no one knows about it, and no one should look for my junk drawer because it’s full of random necessities (well, they’re not really neccessary but I think the time when I put it in, it felt like it. But it’s usually some free lotion, hair pins, a case, tape, shiny stuff like keychains, tissues, recepits and the list could go on, but I won’t ramble.)

    • August 26, 2010 5:47 PM

      As a character of mine says in The Lemonites, girls have more necessities.

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