I’ve been at this whole writing thing for a while and learned some stuff. Don’t groan. I’m not gonna preach. Honest. I just want to give you a small tour inside the scattered mind of one writer.
A couple lessons I’ve learned the hard way, like querying too early (raise your hand if you’ve done this—come on, I know you have…). But the most difficult lesson I’ve learned is the simplest: It’s okay to suck.
I’m not kidding.
Let me share a bit. The first time I ever wrote for public consumption (umm…I mean in college for fellow students), I spent hours, DAYS, attempting to write a witty introduction. That was the assignment. Make a story from an important moment in your life. The problem? I couldn’t bring myself to write a single sentence. I had ideas, sure, but none found their way on the screen. I ended up with a generic “My name is…” load of crap that was both grammatically correct and utterly boring. Why? Simple. I didn’t want people to think I was a shitty writer.
But that was the problem. I was a shitty writer. Yeah, I had a smidgen of raw talent, but the actual writing part takes skill. Skill that only comes from a ton of practice—aka a ton of really bad first drafts.
I did start to loosen up after a few weeks, which then led to the extraordinary. My ultra-supportive classmates let me know that my writing did, indeed, need work—a lot of it. They didn’t stop there, that would’ve just been mean. They helped me hone my craft, as well as giving me something I’ll always be grateful for: Confidence.
So, here it is, folks! If you ever—and I mean ever—wanted to write a story, a poem…even an article on the hibernation practices of snails, just do it. Be like Mike. Or like [insert favorite author here]. Whatever.
Write the smelliest piece of garbage you can. Because you know what? It’s probably not as bad as you think. And if it does stink like hell, well, that’s what revisions are for.
And people? The real story is always in the revisions.