Thursday, November 28, 2013

Discussion: Permission to write poorly

Each Thursday is a day for reflection and discussion. I'll post a quote or article or link to a piece that is fodder for discussion here in the comments. 
Today's Thursday discussion is about bad writing. You know, that cringe worthy stuff that makes you wonder why you ever thought you could write a short story or get to the end of a novel or draft a play or screenplay.

This quote from best-selling crime writer Lawrence Block is all about giving yourself permission to write that terrible stuff -- no matter what it is.

“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”

—Lawrence Block, June 1981


How many people get stuck at the bad part and just give up, not knowing or realizing that the beauty and the perfection comes in the revision? This is one of the reasons I love National Novel Writing Month. The whole purpose is to get that dirty first draft down. Yes, it's a mess. Yes, characters wander on and off stage with no purpose and plot threads peter out like burned matches. Those are all the bones of the story. The craft comes in the revision and the polishing.

That's my two cents' worth. What do you think?


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