Are You Brave Enough to Write Badly?

Are you struggling to get that first chapter/page/sentence just right? Do you beat yourself up because you believe it’s never going to be good enough? Or are you sure you’re going to hit the bestseller list next week, even though you only just started your first novel?

Writing Tip for Today: Writing is a craft, and you can learn a craft. But it does take time. So how do you start?

Write Regularly and Often. It’s easier to talk about writing than to actually write. Writing can be isolating, lonely and frustrating. But it also can be exciting, fulfilling and freeing. Resolve to write on as much of a schedule as your life will allow. If it’s before the kids go off to school, perhaps pledge to get up a half hour earlier to write. If you have a day job (and I hope you don’t quit it to be a famous writer just yet!), maybe weekends offer more time for writing. The main thing is that you get your BIC (Butt in Chair) as long and as often as you can. Things like crying children, glaring bosses and neglected spouses probably do need your attention. But a few takeout dinners, dust-bunnies or passed up social engagements won’t kill you or your loved ones. Resolve to write frequently and often.

Lose the Muse and DO It. If you think a writer must be talented, think again. Many writers are talented, but they still had to learn their craft. We don’t expect cello players to pick up an instrument and the next day get asked to perform at Carnegie Hall. Why should writing well be automatic? The Malcolm Gladwell advice to practice for 10,000 hours is valid in writing. In addition to writing regularly and often, resolve to write a lot.

Write Badly. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Give yourself permission to fail at writing. Instead, just get it down. Later, you’ll learn how to fix it up. The published bestseller you hold in your hands (and admire) did not start out so perfect. It likely took an entire team of the author plus several editors to polish it into the masterpiece you adore. Your writing should be that way too. Just let yourself go and get the story down. Ken Kesey said, “Junk it through.” I hope you’ll give your novel idea the chance to get out of your head and onto the paper, even if it’s a dreadful mess of awful writing. It doesn’t have to stay that way. Start writing today!

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

6 comments on “Are You Brave Enough to Write Badly?

    • Hi! I think all writers have the same fears, same struggles. If you ask well-published authors, most will tell you the fear never really goes away. But what is important is how we react to those fears. By giving yourself permission to write badly, you can get a lot more done in the time you once spent worrying! Keep writing, my friend,

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