Sometimes you have to allow yourself to write badly - Bird By Bird, paraphrased
Novels are my main love. That said, a writer has to earn bread somehow, and so I’ve been doing a bit of journalism for a local paper. One thing I learned is that every piece does not have to be perfect, specifically when the deadline is tomorrow and you’re out of coffee. People don’t really expect their work to be perfect, but I think the unconscious drive is still there. Do better. Be better. Better better better.
Fun story: one night I’d been working on a piece for hours. I could not get the lead to match up with the body. I’d fiddled with that lead for two days. It wasn’t getting any better. In general, if I can do more, I’m not satisfied until I’ve done the most I can. But that time I stopped myself. I realized I’d done the best I could – for that piece.
It was an “ah-hah” moment. If something is at it’s best – even if that means it’s at its worst – you haven’t failed. You aren’t sucking. You aren’t refusing to grow. You’re writing because you’re a writer and sometimes, writers suck. In a way, you’ve still done the best you can.
It’s the same for writing crap. You acknowledge that you can do better, but for whatever reason, it’s the best you can do for this scene and this day. You’ll take a second pass on the next draft. That simple. If it means letting a piece suck, well, sucky is the best it can be.
How do all of you feel about this? Have you come to similar conclusions? I think that each person finds their own ways of saying the same basic things. How do you reason with yourself when it comes to writing crap?