Respecting the Writing, Respecting Yourself
It’s hard to believe that about 2010, I was thinking I was never going to be able to write a novel. My process of writing because a source of great frustration.
The more I revised something, the more broken it got. It went from a two car accident to a spaceship crashes and destroys an entire city.
I remember one writer offering to look at what I’d written to see if she could see what was wrong and I was embarrassed to let her see it. I knew I was a better writer than what I was producing.
So I attended a lot of classes, searching for answers. One was with Bob Meyer, one of the earlier indie successes. I was so frustrated that I described my writing as a “screwy way of writing.”
He said “Never put down your writing. There will be someone else who will be happy to do that for you.”
A lot of the starts with respecting the writing, not treating it like a weird thing from outer space.
There’s a hella out there that does the opposite. (That’s California slang, by the way).
The writing community, craft books, and even writing magazines are rife with put downs. Some of it is quite subtle. Some of it is blatant. Some of it you may be saying yourself.
- “My writing is crap.”
- “My first drafts are shitty.”
- “All first drafts are terrible.”
So you’ve just said you can’t write. What the heck does that do to the little kid in you who is doing the writing?!!
What does that do in how you write that story?!!
Some people think their first draft is so crappy that they race through it so they can get to the revision. Contrary to popular believe, revision isn’t where the real writing happens–it’s the first draft.
And that first draft is being labeled as crap. That’s a lonely place for the muse to be.
We’re constantly bombarded by advice that we’re not “good enough.” The writing magazines have what amounts to diet advice, that there’s something we’re not doing right, something that we should be checking the box on that is keeping from getting us published (rather than another skill level of writing).
I used to be on a message board where anyone experimenting was told, “Most writers screw it up anyway, so don’t even bother.”
This stuff is TOXIC.
Our words have power. Just read a book that makes you want to re-read it all over again once you’ve finished it.
If we say put downs to ourselves and repeat them, how can they NOT have that power?