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Sometimes you have to suck…

I’ve been stuck on Chapter 6 of my ghost book for over a month.  I’ve tried writing it multiple ways and no matter what, I hate it.  HATE IT.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 8.44.14 pmBurn, chapter 6.  Burn.

I am giving myself permission to suck.  To write it, knowing it will be weak and will likely be cut entirely or hacked to pieces in the second draft, so I can move on with things.

I have tried to write this novel on and off for about a decade–a draft of it was written for a Halloween contest, and the characters have never left me alone.  But this is what inevitably happens to me when I’ve tried to write full length pieces–I hit a speed bump and get mired in the desire not to suck.  So the book has gone through several incarnations with characters of different names, different plot lines, and so forth.  But it always seems to hit a point where I can’t move past the momentary bad writing.  I second guess every choice I make until I have a zillion starts to the chapter, but no finish line.

So what changed?

Lynn Townsend.  I’m going to have to paraphrase because otherwise I’ll spend forever trying to track down exactly what she said to me, which was “Just write.  It’s okay that it sucks.  Just keep writing through it.”  Which is obvious.  Which is advice I’ve given.  But hearing it from a REAL AUTHOR who actually is willing to put one of my stories in her anthology (and thus thinks I don’t suck) changed something for me.

Now, you may say “but Delilah, you’re an author.”  To which I would tell you “Yeah, but I’ve never written or published a book, so I’m not a REAL AUTHOR like Lynn or Alison or Insert Name Here.”

So I’m going to suck it up, and I’m going to suck.  So I can move on.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.04.17 pm

September 30th.  I’m stating it publicly–I will send some terrible sad chapter 6 to my editor and move on with my life by September 30th.

3 Responses

  1. I’m so glad I could help… trust me, I know about sucky writing, but you can edit what you’ve never written…

    1) I’m a real writer? how adorable!

    2) if I’m feeling really generous, I’ll dig up some of my old, old stuff and show people just how bad you can start out…

    3) I LOVE your story. Trust me, I got 60+ submissions for this antho. Your story is wonderful. blissful. magnificent.

    –Lynn

    • I wonder if there’s ever a point where we begin to feel like real writers? Like, at what point did Nora Roberts say “I’m a real author!”

      Please please please do post something old. I’ve been trying to find one of my old RL Stine/Christopher Pike rip offs from high school called “The Curse of the Silver Teddy Bear Necklace.” I know that if I can find that, I can remind myself what real sucking looks like 🙂

      Blush. Blush blush blush blush. Thank you.

      I have finally sent off chapter 6, for the record. Now I can move on to Chapter 7.

  2. […] management sucks and I own that.  I’ve also been afraid to suck, which I talked about in this post.  I’m starting to work past that anxiety so I can make forward progress.  I’m […]

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