Suck Quit and See!
Do you ever feel like giving up? I guess we all do at some point in our lives. Hell, I’ve even given up on giving up in days gone by!
This week Debbie Downer has taken over my body, and I’m feeling like I should quit the dream of being a short-story writer. On top of my insecurities about the quality of my work, I don’t seem to find the time needed to make it happen. Yes, I know Christmas is just a few days away, and yes, I’ve been putting in 12+ hours-a-day at the job that currently pays the bills, and yes, hotel Wi-Fi sucks. But still, wouldn’t I find the time if I really wanted to? Oh, woe is me…
Like a Christmas miracle when I needed it most, I happened upon a phenomenal post yesterday by author and writing coach Jeff Goins. His How to Not Waste Your Words: The Secret to Writing a Crappy but Usable First Draft was like a salve for my tortured-writer soul. In it he suggests that it really doesn’t matter what you write, just write! Who cares whether the creative juices are flowing? Crappy first drafts often become great finished products, or at least inspire us to take a different direction with our writing.
I have to agree with Jeff here. I feel much better about myself on the days I write something, (and it really can be anything!), than the days I do not. I save what I’ve written in a folder labelled “Maybe” and put it to one side. Then, when I need to produce, I revisit what I’ve previously written. If, at that time, I ask myself “What was I thinking?” I’ll say Buh-Bye permanently by hitting the delete button. But what’s really cool is more often than not, I like what I see, because I’m looking at it from a different vantage point; a fresh perspective can work wonders!
From this newfound appreciation of my own work, I pick up where I left off with renewed enthusiasm. Does the first draft need work? Absolutely! It’s likely to take more than just a couple of revisions to get me to my happy place. As Jeff writes in the blogpost I mentioned earlier, “Every great writer begins in the same place: in the land of insecurity and self-doubt. They are just as scared and apprehensive as you are. But here’s a trick the pros know that the rest of us can borrow. Since we all start in the same place, the secret to better writing is getting through the crappy first draft quickly. And that’s just what they do.”
I’ve been beating myself up for a week or so because I haven’t posted anything new on my blog. This comes from promising myself I’d blog at least weekly; a feat I know realize is easier said than done. But, here’s the rub. Writing is like dieting. Everyone has a slip up now and again, especially this time of year when calories and carbs have free reign in break rooms, and there are so many demands on our time. Just like dieters who are able to successfully lose those extra pounds, we writers need to shake off our lethargy and get back on course as soon as we are able.
So, maybe I should give myself a break. Yes, I missed last week’s blog post, BUT I have posted 29 times since I rolled out my site back in June. I’ve also added seven short stories to my online store in the last six months alone. Writing this post was good therapy. I’ve purged those naysayers bouncing around in my head. No more Bah Humbug from me! If you have something you rely on to get you out of a writing funk, please share below.
I’ll be back next week with my last post of 2016, and in the meantime I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!