This week’s writing tip is an oldie but goodie.
I credit Anne Lamott with introducing it to me though I expect writing teachers have been saying it to students for hundreds of years.
Don’t be afraid to write crap.
That’s it. That’s really all we need to know about writing, especially when getting your feet wet for the first time or coming back to writing after being away for a while. Don’t be afraid to write crap.
When we expect everything we write to come out ready for publication the fear of not living up to those expectations can keep us from getting those first words down on the page, those first few words that start the momentum of the story and keep us coming back to the page. Trust me, I know this to be a fact. I have written very little since Hugging the Rock. I can say it’s because the day job was stressing me out or because of being laid off or because of worry about my kids or my health or money or because I got up on the wrong side of the bed.
But none of those is the real reason I’m not writing right now. The real reason I’m not writing right now is because I’m afraid to write crap.
It’s as simple and as complicated as all that.
I was reminded of this recently whenhulabunny got brave enough to ignore the worries swirling in her brain and just sat down and started writing. She was sure she was writing crap but dang it all, she was excited about writing crap.
She sent me a few chapters. And she kept on writing. Every night, after her young children went to bed, after taking care of her family and knowing that the alarm clock would be ringing way too early for her to have to get up and go to her very stressful day job. Night after night she keeps writing and I keep reading because I am totally hooked on her story, her first draft.
And you know what? It isn’t crap at all. She’s on her way to writing a dang fine novel. All because she wasn’t afraid to write crap.
Way to go, Eileen!