I was perusing some old blog posts today and I came across something I wrote in November of 2005 that still holds true today. I feel sort of like my former self is trying to tell my present self something important:
Permission to write crap
How many times can you start a chapter…how many times can you start a blog article…how many times can you close out a file, open up a new program, type a few lines and delete them…before you realize you’re just not going to get anything concrete accomplished?
It’s not that I have writer’s block per se – I just have first line block. There’s so much emphasis put on the first line of a story, a chapter, even an article. You have to open with a bang and when you can’t bang…ahem…you fizzle.
I know. I know. The mantra of a working writer is as follows: Write, write, write, then edit the heck out of it. At least get something on paper. I know.
I get like this sometimes though. I want every word I put down to be pure gold. There’s nothing wrong with writing crap and then rewriting it. But there are times I just don’t want to do that. I have so many ideas, that sometimes I can’t bear to waste the time writing badly only to have to rewrite – even though I’m a better rewriter than I am a writer. I should just get on with it. I need to give myself permission to write a crappy chapter, have my characters do something silly, say something insipid and weave some gut wrenchingly horrid narrative around it, all with the notion that it will be crossed out and rewritten later on when my brain is in a better state of mind.
It just kills me, though. The stories are all there, in my head, fully formed. I just can’t get them to come out smoothly on paper. I’m putting too much pressure on myself to produce and when that happens, my muse takes a holiday. Fortunately she doesn’t get holiday pay. Unfortunately, neither do I anymore.
(Emphasis added by my present self)
Do you give yoursef permission to write crap? Do you think it helps your creative process?