I've been doing a Fast Draft challenge for the last two weeks. I took Candace Havens Fast Draft in 14 Days workshop a few years ago. At the time I don't think I was ready for the concept of blazing through a first draft so completely. But this time something clicked.
The last time I wrote a first draft quickly, though much slower than Fast Draft, was for The Beast's Redemption where the characters were constantly yelling at me to get their story down.
This time around the muse was relatively quiet. I wasn't being kept awake at night by bursts of inspiration. I had a general idea for a middle grade fantasy which came from wanting to write a middle grade fantasy about unicorns to submit to a publisher invite. A little brainstorming came up with the situation and I had been sitting on the idea for over a month - I just couldn't seem to get into gear.
Then a few ladies at one of my RWA writing chapters were talking about doing Fast Draft. At first I shied away from the idea even though I was mentally berating myself for not getting this book done or even started. The day before they started the challenge I decided to do it by getting up at 5 am every morning and having time to write before anyone else got up.
Dragging myself out of bed at 5 am wasn't always easy, but it was worth it. I averaged about 3 hours for my 20 pages a day. One day I had to stop at 10 pages after a certain little person woke up early, but every other day I wrote on whether I had any idea where I was going or not.
I think I had forgotten how to pants. And I love pantsing. My characters continuously surprised me as I went. The book seemed to evolve from a middle grade fantasy to a young adult fantasy as a new character emerged demanding equal billing with my heroine. Every morning I had no idea where they were going to take me as they were relatively quiet until I started typing.
On my eleventh day I typed The End in surprise. I had assumed I'd be going until the final day of fast draft, but my characters had finished their adventure and resolved their problem. My first draft was done.