So I wrote today for the first time since my dad died. It was not, shall we say, a good experience.
I wrote garbage. It was hard; squeezing blood from a stone hard. But that’s the thing about writing: we have to do it when it sucks and when it’s hard.
We have to do it even when what we produce is garbage.
I Am Producing Garbage (And So Can You)
It’s the editing that makes writing shine, always – and that means we need to give ourselves permission to suck.
Listen: I’ve been writing all my life and published since 2012, and I can tell you with all sincerity that what you write will never match what you see in your head.
It will never be perfect. It may not even be “good enough.” But that doesn’t mean those words are wasted.
Times this this – when there is grief, or confusion, or exhaustion, or any number of stresses or trials – usually make it much harder to write. That’s normal. That isn’t broken, or weird.
I’m going through a few trials right now. I also wrote a couple thousand words tonight. They absolutely sucked. I genuinely don’t think I’ll end up keeping any of them – yet I continued writing them. Why?
Because the more I wrote the scenes wrong, the more I understood what would make them right.
Because the more I chose the wrong words, the keener my sense of the right words became.
Because the more I managed to screw up these two characters’ voices, the better an idea I had of their true sound.
I will have to rewrite these scenes from scratch – but knowing what not to do with them gives me much clearer direction what to do.
There are no wasted words. Even when you use the wrong word, even when you have to guess and just type [better word here!], that effort isn’t wasted. It’s making you a better writer.
Churn Out That Garbage With Confidence!
So this is 2019. It’s tense. We have valid reasons to be afraid.
I lost my dad two weeks ago, and I know I’m not the only one bereaved.
Look: we all have stuff going on. It’s not a competition. The key is to keep writing.
Let it be junk. That’s okay. Just don’t stop, whatever you do.
Keep writing, and get your story told.