Writing Exercise: Writing a ‘Really Shitty’ First Draft

“…the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.” —

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

So, this is mine, my own ‘really, really shitty first draft’ (of another writing exercise). I never tire of looking for prompts or exercises to improve my writing. I’ve never been the storytelling type of writer. But still I’d like to flex my writing muscles toward that direction. So here it is — my own ‘really, really shitty first draft.’

“On a whim one lazy Saturday morning, Summer thought of going through her pile of memorabilia. She pulled an old photograph album lurking in a dusty corner of the bodega upstairs.

Its edges were beginning to show signs of wear. Summer no longer remembered what photos lay hidden in each page because she had not opened this for ages.

Overcome with anticipation, she pried open the hard cover with care. The album looked ancient with its yellowish pages. Each leaf contained one or two faded photographs stuck like glue beneath the plastic lining.

A soft, creaky sound arose at each turn of a panel. Then she saw her mom bidding her to sit beside her at the dining table where lay a big tray of freshly baked chocolate bread pudding, whose sweet aroma wafted around her. In a while as Summer was about to take a bite of her Mom’s specialty, she heard her Mom humming, “Beyond the Sunset”, a hymn her parents would sing together.

Without much prodding, Summer’s alto voice blended with that of her Mom’s soprano, until they reached the last strains of the hymn. Summer could still hear herself singing, but her hands were now wet with tears as these memories of her Mom replayed in her mind. And all the more this sent her body shaking with uncontrollable sobs.

You see, looking through family albums was her late mom’s favorite weekend activity.”

Photo by Anna Jiménez Calaf on Unsplash



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