As the below video displays, I’m not a very talented guitar player.
I started playing almost four years ago while a counselor at a summer camp. I learned a few chords and from that could play a few thousand songs. I loved it. But if I took an honest account of my playing abilities I might cease to pick up the guitar at all.
Yesterday my friends were joking about their Inner Critic, whom they had to ignore in order to finish their work. I hadn’t put a name to the feeling I’ve been struggling with, that Inner Critic, which slows my writing progress to a stalemate on the page. Some people might call it writer’s block.
The initial creation moment (and its preceding moments), must banish the Inner Critic at all costs. That’s what I’ve learned. To just fill pages with writing, think less and write more. Overwrite, I tell myself.
I’ll admit, a lot of it is crap. I have to wade through its awfulness later. I mean loads and loads of crap.
But there’s also some good stuff (at least to my standards).
There are times when we must write to write and edit later. Perhaps not all writing purposes benefit from this. But for now, for me, even though I’m cringing.
I’ll let Michael Mayerhofer in “Advice to Writers: Stay Home” conclude:
So, again, here’s my not-so-humble advice: stay home. Don’t call anyone. Don’t text. Don’t update your Facebook status to say what you’re reading, or how many thousands of words you’re going to write today. Just leave your ego in a shoe box, sit down, and read. And write. And if you look down at your first draft and think it’s golden—well, you’re wrong.
11 thoughts on “It’s hard to believe a lot of what I write is crap. I have to wade through its awfulness later. I mean loads and loads of crap.”
I believe writers write a lot but most of it doesnt come out the way they want it. However, with practice you get those few lines or paragraphs or whatever that make the difference. Continue!
That quotation is great. AGREED. So simple! And yet way hard to do. Stay at home. Unplug the modem. Don’t answer the door. Walk in circles. Put your ego in a shoebox. (I like that it’s a shoebox and not a folder or file or photo album in My Documents / Pictures.)
AGREE on this too: “I have to wade through its awfulness later.” Thinking about it now, I’d have to guess my success ratio is probably about 1 to 6 – for every six pages I write, one page might be something that finds a home, something I’ll use or find worthy in some sense. Not a great ratio, but it’ll do. 😉
I’m glad you put it into a ratio. I don’t like to think what my ratio could be.
Is that what it’s all about? Faking it till we make it? 🙂 Keep up the mediocre work!
I like to think of it as searching for the mythical sentence.
Ermmm…so embarrassing… I meant “ISN’T that what it’s all about?” intended to be supportive – NOT snarky and fatalist – okay, I’m going now…. 🙂
I interpreted it as the latter.
Yes! The “unicorn” of writing…..good luck with the search!
Actually, that’s what makes me a triple threat – supportive, snarky, AND fatalist.
My ratio is closer to 1:1. For every 1 page I write that’s a keeper, there’s another page that’s even better.
We all already know.