Saturday, April 6

How To Not Write Crap

The Writing Blahs

Every writer is different but I think, at some point, most of us have felt we're writing garbage. Absolute drivel.

I've felt that.

The temptation is to stop writing. No one likes writing crap (or what you feel is crap, sometimes it's not).

Being honest, I have to admit that occasionally, in the past, I have stopped writing. Here are some of the excuses I've used:

- I need to read because the second rule of writing is "Writer's read (critically)".
- I need to do research on the Internet.
- I need to tidy my desk so I'll be more productive.

But what happens is that I waste a half hour, or an hour, doing something that isn't writing.

Most of the time, though, if I feel I'm writing crap, I keep writing. I keep writing because, if I don't, there is zero chance I won't write crap.

No writing = No good writing

Besides, often, I just need to push through the whispers (or shouts) in my head telling me I'm a fraud, my writing is crap, no one will buy it, I'm deluding myself.

As I write, these voices fall away, or I forget about them. A new world unfurls around me and exploring it becomes more interesting than self-flagellation.

And I write words that don't totally suck.

When this happens a few times--this process of ignoring the voices, of proving them wrong--the voices become less strident, less credible.

I think the voices will always be there, just as there will always be someone who doesn't like what I write. But that's okay. The important thing is that I'm a writer and that I write.

#  #  #

I'm not sure where that came from! Over the past week I watched the first season of Girls and most of the second, so maybe I felt it was time to do a personal essay. (Hannah, the main character, writes essays.)

Now I'm wondering if watching Girls was procrastination but, no, writers are allowed downtime. Something is only procrastination if I do it during the time I've set aside for writing. Writers needs lives or we wouldn't have anything to write about!

Did I really just use watching Girls as an example of my having a life? Wow. I need to get out today. (grin)

Before I go, let me leave you with a fantastic writing link I just discovered. Someone emailed this to me, but the link is public so I'm passing it along:

The Thirteen Weeks Novel Writing Program

I'll talk about that more later, I wanted to share it with you now because it looked like a fabulous read.

Other articles you might like:

- Writing Scenes: Getting Up Close And Personal; Using Sensory Language
- The Strange: How To Hook A Reader's Interest
- 3 Elements Of A Great Story Opening

Photo credit: "A Case of The Rainy Day Blahs" by D Sharon Pruitt at Pink Sherbet Photography under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.


  1. Thank you for your post. It came at just the right time. I put myself "out there" yesterday to my Facebook friends asking them to visit my blog and help me to get 100 page views in one day (not a lot of traffic, I know, but I'm steadily increasing and I REALLY want to hit that goal). Since I sent out that request seventeen hours ago, I have gotten a grand total of fifty-two views (right around my daily average). I still have hope that I'll hit my hundred, but frankly it's gasping for breath and turning blue. It's discouraging. So--all of that to say, thank you so much for writing this post and helping me to feel a little less sorry for myself. It's time to work on the next project and the next goal. Thanks again. --Marbeth

    1. You'll get there! One thing that gave my blog a nice bump in the beginning was releasing a story on Smashwords.

      At that time, when a book was first published they put it on the front page of the site and mine stayed there for about 10 minutes and received a lot of views. Many of the folks who looked at the book visited my blog, and some of them kept coming back! (The book isn't there anymore, this was a while ago. :)

      Thanks for your comment! :-)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks antraes! I was nervous about this post, I didn't want to come off as preachy. I'm glad folks liked it.

  3. Spot on! I'm always encouraged by Richard Bach's ("Jonathan Livingston Seagull") quote: "A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."

    Pressing on...

    1. Exactly!

      Thanks Jay, I read that book a LONG time ago, thanks for the quote.

  4. Also, remember, if you're not writing, you might still be thinking about writing and that counts... right? lol. Well, that's one of my "excuses". As long as I'm plotting and seeing things in my head, it still counts. And don't feel bad about watching Girls! I spent New Year's eve watching a Girls marathon -- only to be thwarted by the sound disappearing. So I went to bed before midnight, lol. I still need to see the rest of that season... hmm... maybe that could be my reward for finishing my story... thanks for the idea!

    1. "maybe that could be my reward for finishing my story"

      Sounds like a brilliant idea!

      Plotting and seeing things in your head is great, I find it keeps my connection with my story alive. :-)

  5. (Stands in front of you nose to nose. Takes you by the shoulders and gives you a shake.)

    Lookit me.
    Nooo… don’t look there. Right here. Lookit me.
    Now listen. (Small cuff upside the head) Got yer attention now?
    Now, do I look like a jerk to you? I ain’t. I don’t waste my time reading and commenting on crappy blogs. Are there zillions of awesome blogs out there? Beats me- I don’t have the time. I stick with my winners.

    Of COURSE you’ve written drivel! I think that’s called first draft! You wanna see some real stinky crapola- check out some of the self pub’d stuff on Amazon and look at how the creators of it get upset because readers have called them on it. Don’t even ask to see my first drafts- your eyeballs will melt.

    Lookit- I’ve mentioned this to you in private correspondence, and probably here on your blog- I don’t have time. There’s only 24 hours in a day. I can only devote so much time and RAM to online stuff, and to reading. I gotta write, work the day job, do the laundry, and cook yadda yadda.

    So when I land on something that I think is good, I stick with it. I have chosen the blogs I follow daily- there’s only four- and yours is one of them. Okay! It’s the first one I check, okay?

    Why? Glad you asked.
    Because I don’t waste my time.

    Your stuff’s good. It’s really good.
    Your book- (natch, all your followers have bought and read it right? Looks around at the followers list- RIIIGHT?) Your book was a great read. I want the second one.

    Your blog is a great dose of news, advice and opinion created by a smart and talented writer.

    We ALL get tired. We ALL get discouraged. I’m not going to tell you to suck it up; I’m telling you you’re human. And you took on a career that can be crushing to the self esteem.

    And you’re good at it. You’re going to be even more successful than you are now. You don’t have to believe in yourself for now. I’ll believe in you enough for both of us for a while.

    You take the rest of the day off and go watch TV.

    And get back to Darla when you can. I wanna see what she does next!

    1. * blush *

      Thanks Desmond! Now when I get discouraged, I can come here and read your post. :-) Love your blog ( too!

      "We ALL get tired. We ALL get discouraged."

      I think that's true, though it's nice to be reminded.

  6. Thanks for the plug on my blog, Toots, but I haven't put anything up there in a dawg's age! (Oh, and yeah, I do talk like this... shades of a 1930's film noir, see? LOL)

    1. lol I should watch more of those films, I do love practically everything Humphrey Bogart did.


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