Monday, December 6, 2010

Why It’s Good to Write—Even When You’re Writing Poorly

100_5048I can usually tell when I’m about to have a day when my writing is going to be awful. I’ll have this moment where I think the blank page looks so much better than the drivel I’m about to fill it with.

And I know that I’m envisioning the plot in my head a lot better than I’m going to write it out that day.

Since I give myself daily permission to screw up my writing, though, I keep on going.

There’ll be some days when I just can’t get my thoughts on paper in any kind of organized way—much less an entertaining way.

I’ll see that lousy day’s writing when I’m working on the second draft—it’s still there, it’s still awful. Time hasn’t made it any better.

The interesting thing, though, is that there usually is some redeemable part of the poorly-written scene. There might be a shred of decent character development, or a turn of phrase that’s not bad. It might have been the point in the story where I got a great idea for the next scene of the book.

Or it might have been so terrible that I took the whole scene out. :)

But usually, there’s something good there. It might just be some tiny thing that I can salvage and just rewrite everything that surrounds it.

I think what I’m trying to say here is that there are going to be plenty of days of writing drivel. There are also going to be days when our internal editor is on hyper-drive, reminding us how terrible our writing is.

Just keep going. Either ignore the internal editor or acknowledge it and just don’t let it affect you—tell yourself that you’ll fix the wretched writing later because priority #1 is to finish the book.

Even on a bad writing day, you’re still: Keeping up your writing habit Learning to quiet your self-editor Moving your story forward Making time for an activity that’s important to you Exercising that writing muscle Thinking about your story and characters

I know some of y’all work well with your inner-editor and edit your work as you go. Whatever works is definitely the method to go with. My advice is more for folks who get tripped up by their internal editor—and end up with a stalled-out project.

So my question to you is this—do you coexist well with your internal editor? If you don’t, how do you shut yours up? :)