Lindsey R. Loucks

Author of Romance and Other Scary Things

A Shower Won’t Help

Let’s be realistic: no one has a sparkly clean mind. They’re messy and complicated, kind of like the directions for my new crock pot. Bits of information are scattered all over the place. But a scattered mind is what makes us human, so at least we have that as an excuse.

A critique partner asked me once how I make my stories so polished. I’m still not exactly sure what he meant, but I answered back by saying, “They sure don’t start out that way.” Maybe that’s because I start writing the first draft on notebook paper, not computer. In that initial shotgun blast, I have to keep up with the story by writing in shorthand. My typing fingers are too slow. Below is an example of how dirty/messy/complicated and unpolished my writing is:

Lines and whole sentences are crossed out. Phrases are scribbled in the margins. Eventual destinations are marked with stars. It’s crazy! But that’s what fell out of my messy head.

Of course, this word vomit winds up on my computer so that I can sort it out, but still. Writing is messy, and showers won’t help.

So, writers, what do your first drafts look like?
Anyone, what’s on your dirty minds? Wait, do I want to know?
Anyone, do you have any good recipes for my new crock pot?


  1. lol, you know what? you gave me the idea to post the same thing on my blog. My writing is just as messy if not worst than yours and it’s the hardest part for me. How to filter the junk out of the good stuff that I want to put together.
    Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy getting an insight into other writers writing process.

  2. Very helpful indeed. I have almost convinced myself that I need to delve into story planning a bit more. A real pencil and paper–jot it out, then sort out the stuff that makes no sense.

    Ok–beef stew recipe, with my own tweaks:

    I found this one on Here’s the link:,1748,152188-234206,00.html

    Now, I like to brown my beef with a little olive oil in a skillet first. Just a tad to get some color, then add the flour to that. Cook until the flour thickens the rendered out fat/juices, then pour all that in the crock pot. Also, I found a package of beef stew seasoning from McCormick and used that instead of the salt/pepper/paprika. You may need to add more beef broth and use the low sodium since that seasoning has lots of salt.

    One of the tricks with a crock pot is not to remove the lid too often. Wait until it’s cooked several hours before you even think about stirring. I cook it until everything is tender, and so far it’s turned out super delicious. Enjoy!

  3. Oooo, I hadn’t even considered browning the beef before throwing it in the crock pot. I think I might need another pot so I can make this stew and J’s wife’s apple pie recipe in the same day! Thank you so much for sharing -maybe I’ll have this on New Year’s Day!

  4. Lindsey,

    How was the apple pie dessert? I can’t write longhand, nor short hand for that matter. My typing speed is faster than my writing speed. Plus, my hand starts to cramp if I get too excited while I write. If I am having an especially cool burst, my storyline will evolve into a bullet list of scene snippets, clips of dialogue, and what looks like stage directions. In fact, I have had a couple spots where that slips through the filter into the actual story. If you see anything while you crit that is decidedly present tense, it is most likely a stage direction that got written around rather than written properly.

    As for dirty mind, you’re right. You don’t want to know… >:^)


  5. The apple pie dessert was soooo good! Thank you for suggesting it! Interesting comment – it’s kind of like you were writing a screenplay and a novel at the same time!

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