Writing crap isn’t as easy as it sounds. As this term’s novel writing class winds down, we’re talking about revision, although many of the students’ are still in the beginning stages of drafting. While it’s instructional to learn good self-editing techniques, I urge these writers to remain focused on writing as much as possible–badly. When writers are stuffing their heads full of correct usage and remembering not to start their sentences with “it” or “there,” it’s hard sometimes to remember that first rule of drafting: writing crap or a terrible first draft.
Writing Tip for Today: As you learn your craft it’s tempting to implement all the advanced tools into your writing. But beware. The editing part of you can be a bully. If you concentrate on incorporating editing into your draft, your creative self often gives up. If necessary get two hats and label one “Creating” and the other “Editing.” As Anne Lamott reminds us, “First you get it down, and then you fix it up.”
Try This! Each time you sit down to write, remind yourself that this is a draft. You are not only encouraged to write as much as you can, you’re challenged to write poorly, even horribly. Later on, you WILL edit your mess into something worthy. But not today. Today, you write crap.