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Write Crap.

April 10, 2009

Yeah, I’m in one of those writing funks.  You know the ones.  The “Why the hell would anyone want to read this crap?” place in our minds.  The brimstone-lined room that reeks of sulfur and houses the Inner Critic.

I would much rather spend all of my time next to the pool sipping some “inspiration juice” in the delightful company of my Muse.

Alas, I spend more time with Inner Critic than I do with Muse. 

This latest bout I’m having with the dreaded funk has been brought on by breaking two cardinal rules of first draft writing.

First, I stopped to think.  My best writing is done in sort of a writer’s daze.  This is something I’ve been forgetting far too much lately.  In those euphoric times I am nothing but a conduit for the words.  They flow from my characters’ mouths, down my arms and into the keyboard.  I can generally type faster than I can think (not always but a lot of times) and when I’m just doing dictation it makes the process that much faster.

Also, and this goes back to the first point, I’m reworking Chapter 2 of Veil because the characters are a bit flat and I needed to de-purple it a bit.  Hell, I figured if I wasn’t writing new I should rewrite old flat stuff.  Put that critic guy to use since he was whizzing in my Cheerios anyway.  I do think Chapter 2 is improving (y’all can be the judges when I finish the rewrite, hopefully this weekend, because I’ll post it here) but I will still be facing Chapter 4 when I get done procrastinating.

Honestly I think I just need to get rid of Inner Critic for a while (after this little rewrite) and remember the First Rule of First Draft Writing:  Write Crap.

Yes, crap is bad.  Crap is not publishable.  Crap will definitely not put your name in the annals of literary history alongside Dickens, Tolstoy and Melville.  Crap has but two redeeming qualities that should interest us writers.  Crap is quick and it is fixable.

I can write crap a lot faster than I can write literary gold.  Thing is that crap can be shined into literary gold by a skilled hand or two given enough time later.  Sometimes I forget this and it gets me into this sort of trouble.

So, anyway, I have a date with Muse.  First, however, I have this Inner Critic guy to deal with.

Anyone have any duct tape?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 14, 2009 3:27 pm

    Todd;

    You forgot the third quality of ‘crap’. Crap can be thrown out on the dung heap when it doesn’t work.

    I’ve written lots of crap, have a computer and stacks of spiral notebooks full(I write longhand) to prove it. I often wonder why I’m sticking with writing when at times the Inner Critic guy is a monkey on my back, whispering negative and derogatory messages in my ear about how crappy my writing is.

    Then I’ll read something I’ve written and say, ‘hey, that didn’t really suck at all, sure it may need to be polished a bit, but it didn’t suck.’ That’s what keeps me going, the bits of shiny writing I’m proud of even if no one else recognizes it, but sometimes the reader loves it and you get to sigh and say, not bad for the millionth try at writing.

    By the way, I killed my muse so I’m doing this writing gig without a net.

    I’m reading two great books at the moment dealing with writing: Don’t Murder Your Mystery, 24 Fiction-Writing Techniques To Save Your Manucript From Turning Up D.O.A by Chris Roerden, and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. Each book focuses on where we may be going wrong as we approach different aspects of our writing and how to turn the ship around while working toward better writing.

    I’m currently looking at all the crap and seeing if there is anything worth saving for rewrites. Sometimes new vision provides us with a better outlook toward things we create. And if the crap has to go, it’s easier to throw it out and start anew. Just my thoughts today on writing and finding the success which lives squarely between our ears.

    Keep hanging in there.

    P

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