Friday, May 21, 2010

Permission to write crap.

This is something I posted on a message board the other day to motivate a few people who were concerned that their writing was crap. Been there, done that. Since the post in question is on a double-password-locked super sekrit skwirrel board, I figured I'd repost it here for my loyal blog minions to enjoy.

*puts on motivational speaker hat*

It's not only okay to write crap, it's something that should be encouraged. That's the crawling that comes before walking. Write through it, even when you know it's shit, and when you're done, go through and fix it all. Learn what works and what doesn't, and learn from everything that didn't work. You'll learn a hell of a lot more from a page full of crap than you will from a blank piece of paper. If that page is ultimately unsalvageable, you will still have gained valuable knowledge to keep the next page from the same fate.

I spent years writing absolute shit. I often mention Sins of the Failboat Failure Father, my barftacular tome of failure. All told, I spent 10 years on it (with some gaps throughout), producing three full drafts of 125,000+ words apiece. Better literature has emerged from the lower digestive tract of a feverish warthog.

But those words weren't wasted, nor were the trees who sacrificed their lives to immortalize my turdalicious brainsplurtings. Over time, I started to see where my work and decent writing parted ways. Feedback from my poor beta readers (Jesus, I feel terrible...prisoners at Guantanamo don't even have to read my old crap) started to make sense. I applied their comments, along with the things I'd learned from how-to books and books in my genre.

Things started to move forward. My writing was getting better. And of course this was around the time I gained Scarlett as a writing partner, which shifted this improvement into warp drive. Having someone around who's like the bastard lovechild of Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsay will either make one improve or curl into a fetal position and cry.

My stuff is hardly gold now, but it's come a long, long way from the ostrich vomit I called writing a few years ago. That alone makes every last word of failure worth it.

The bottom line is, you have to start somewhere. The fact that you think it's crap tells me you know you can do better...and the more you learn, the more you write, the better you will write. IS okay to write crap. Put on your hip-waders, put a clothespin on your nose, and slog through it...because the good stuff will come. Your frustrations are growing know where you want to be, but you're still getting there. That right there sets you apart from many of the wannabe writers out there. If you know you're not there, you know you still have growing to do, then you're already way ahead of the game compared to those who think their writing is teh shiznit already. (Confession time: I was one of those people. There was a time when I thought Sins of the Failboat was made of ossumsauce.)

Hopefully this all makes some sense...for some reason it's always clearer in my head than when I try to articulate it. Anyway, just keep writing and learning from the writing you think is crap. You'll get there, and it'll be worth the journey and all of the shit stuck to your shoes at the end of it.

Heed my advice, and one day, a decade or three from now, we'll all sit around on expensive lounges we purchased with our fat advances. We'll drink vintage liquors while we receive massages from our man or ladycandy of choice. And we will look back on the crap we wrote in our early years, laugh awkwardly, and quickly change the subject.

But we won't be writing crap anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment