my whole career is built on writing, yet i actually hate-love it.
everytime i have a substantial writing assignment (and by substantial, i mean more than an email), my mind goes “omg i hate myself,” i agonize over the first sentence, i escape to facebook, twitter, or reading — anything to be distracted from the insurmountable thing that i have to do that i really don’t feel like that will take so much thinking and time that will make me feel like crap until i am done oh shoot it’s due tomorrow so i will stay up all night if i have to…
and then suddenly, i actually struggle through it, finish it, and eh… that writing stuff — we cool.
when things get really dire, i often turn to this old blog post from poynter, chock full of quotes about writing that make me feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and i better get crackelacking.
a couple of my faves clipped from that post include:
There is a myth at large in the general population, easily quashable yet somehow allowed to persist, that writing comes smoothly, like gas from a pump, or at least unbidden, like tears. This is bull. No decent prose is ever dashed off, especially that which appears to be effortlessly dashing. Just as Buster Keaton and Douglas Fairbanks had to rehearse their leaps and pratfalls, so grace on the page has to be earned with infinite sweat.
Ever tried? … Ever failed. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
and pretty much all of it can be summed up in this one quote from chip scanlan, the author of that post, who interestingly decided to leave this out of his own post:
To write well, you may have to write badly.
so with this personal pep talk, i banish all the demons of self-editing and perfectionism and give myself permission to write bad. because we must write bad first, then make it good. or, you know, just accept that some stuff ain’t gonna be good and that’s ok.
and there you go.