Her: “No, YOU are a good writer, I’m poo.”
Me: “No, you are the good one, I’m the one that’s poo.”
Her: “But, I love your style and your humor is great and your writing is so tight.”
Me: “Yeah, but I can hear your voice when I read your stuff. You are the one who is the great writer. I’m just poo.”
I mean. Seriously, we are grown women and we cannot admit that we are both talented writers. What the heck is it with writers? Either the whole lot of us are narcissists or we are talented, gifted, creative people insisting that our work is poo – wait, I think that actually is the definition of a narcissist. Need to check my DSM -5.
Look, nobody’s work is poo.
Except some children’s books. Some of those are serious poo. Oh, and this CrossFit book I once read, that was also poo. I forced myself to finish it and then thought I was going to get rhabdo for pushing myself too hard. Fine, some people’s work is poo, but not yours.
I swear I am making a point here…
Here’s the deal, everyone’s work is at a different stage of life. Some are just beginning, some are established and are changing things up, some write journalism, some write because it’s their outlet, their therapy. Some write because it’s their calling, their passion, their job or their hobby.
Regardless of why we write, putting ourselves out there in written word is a risk.
Writing rarely comes from a place of strength, even if it’s news or journalism or technical writing. For the writer, you are just trying to get it right. The right words, the right structure, the right message, the right story. Show me a writer who makes one draft and then is like “I’m so awesome, publish…boom!” and I’ll show you a writer with a drawer full of worn down backspace keys. We may like what we are trying to say, but there is always something to tweak.
If we are honest, it’s more of a type, type, type…backspace.
Write for twenty minutes, backspace, delete, highlight whole paragraph, delete.
Spell check, re-read, have spouse read, have kids read, read aloud six times to your cat and look for reactions of shock, horror, disgust. Shut off computer. Eat.
Walk around chair. Drink water. More backspacing. More deleting. Looking off into space – because obviously the right word lives somewhere out there.
Finally submit. Finally publish. Then panic. It’s all wrong. It’s poo.
750 words of complete and utter poo.
Writing is powerful and neurotic and vulnerable and stupid and brilliant and fantastic and so many times it’s all wrong. But sometimes it’s just right. Those are the moments we celebrate. Those are the moments that allow us to put fingers to keyboard and set that thing on fire. Because I think we can all agree that encouraging other’s work and nudging new writers to begin or continue or whatever is way more fun than hitting submit. Except that hitting submit, hitting publish or sending that query is absolutely necessary.
Keeping the spirit of the written word alive in stories, poetry, prose and every other format is what keeps us all going.
Write on with your bad selves.
(Warning: Some people will actually tell you your work is poo. It’s happened to me and they were probably right, listen to their corrections and soldier on. Criticism doesn’t mean you come to a screeching halt. Keep writing what you believe in).
Categories: All The Rest