The Importance of Writing Crap
The blank page.
It’s a daunting thing to stare at a blank page and wonder what it should be filled with. Is this going to be a poem? Maybe a novella or—lest we dream big—a novel of epic proportions? Perhaps simply an article about the act of writing itself?
The possibilities are endless.
So, where do we begin?
Sometimes the mere thought of having to fill one page and then another and another with what will inevitably be awful words is enough to throw a mental TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN warning in front of your eyes. After all, what’s the point of writing if it never amounts to anything? Why waste precious time writing complete and utter crap?
Some writers seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to putting ideas to paper, but for most of us, our writing goes nowhere. And that’s if we can manage to get it written.
My first novel was crap. I had an idea I was in love with, the determination to write it all down, and a month of NaNoWriMo 2014 in which to do it.
And I did it. And it sucked.
I think my editor was being generous when she said it had “the bones of a good story.” It was weak in every way possible and we both knew it, but I am to this day absolutely and completely proud of it.
Why? Because even though that manuscript is going to get lost in my archives, it showed me that I can write that much, I can finish a book, I can stick with a project long enough to see it through to the end. So, even though less than 10 people have—and probably will ever—read that story, it is tangible proof that I not only can but have done it.
And that’s exactly the point: just because the story you’re writing won’t be the next Harry Potter doesn’t mean it isn’t without purpose. Is it crap? Probably. But it is also a step on the path toward success. When the alternative is to stand still and never write the book that will succeed, I’d much rather keep moving toward my end goal, one piece of crap at a time.
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