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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Just write crap

It seems like this happens for every single book I write. I’m in the first quarter of the book, struggling to get the words down. It feels like slogging through New England clam chowder.

Then I suddenly remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just write crap. Edit later.

Somehow I always forget this. It has happened at some point in every single manuscript I’ve completed. I have to remind myself to just get the words down, no matter how awful they are.

The first couple thousand words really ARE crap, but then after that, my right brain creative side takes over and suddenly I’m writing words that are actually rather good. Or at least, words I wouldn’t shudder to read aloud to my mother, the English teacher. :)

So if you’re in the first quarter or third of your book--or no matter where you are in it--just remind yourself to get the words down, no matter how execrable they are. Just power through it, don’t cringe at the triteness of your phrases and the cliches popping up like weeds (grin). After a while, the words will flow more like wine than like sludge.

(Ha! I used the word execrable in a sentence! Are you impressed? :)

20 comments:

  1. This is SUCH a good reminder, Camy. I struggle with getting each and every word right the first time through, but this becomes a huge waste of energy. Better to just write crap, and edit later :-)

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    1. I do this ALL the time! And I never remember no matter how many manuscripts I write!!!!

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  2. Great advice. I forget this a lot too, and I have to remind myself that I'll solidify character attitudes and demeanor along the way too, occasionally.

    And yes, I AM impressed!

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    1. LOL Thanks! I was rather impressed myself. :)

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  3. Oh my, this is my biggest struggle! It hurts to write "crap"! But it's such a good feeling to finish a draft, especially in a decent amount of time! I am in that first third of my book, and I am stuck, only because when I sit down to write, I don't always have the energy to write "literature". HA! Thanks for this reminder!!

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    1. You are absolutely right--it actually HURTS to write crap! I think that's why I forget about this for every single manuscript.

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  4. So funny and encouraging! I love this article, Camy. It's a great reminder to me that I actually do enjoy the editing process ... but I don't have anything to edit if I didn't write it down first. :-)

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    1. I wish I enjoyed the editing process more! It's the hardest for me, although I know a lot of people who enjoy it the most.

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  5. Such good information in this article and your whole website, Camy! Thank you.

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  6. I really needed to read this today! Thank you--excellent advice.

    Now back to the first quarter of the book...ug....

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    1. I needed it last night a whole bunch! I'll need this reminder again today!

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  7. Oh camy I think I need to read this before each time I write! I saw this the other day, thought it was wonderful & that I'd always remember but ive already forgotten. I want to bang my head on the wall this weekend bc my ideas are so crappy, why write them?

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    1. I can totally relate! I feel the same way at intervals during the course of writing each and every manuscript. Just keep pressing on! It's always a ton easier to edit your crappy stuff later than to stare at the blinking cursor.

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  8. Do i press forward even when i feel the entire idea is crap? That's a big issue for me, I have an idea & like it for about 10 mins. I try to start flesh it out & end up thinking it's so horrible, it'll never be good enough to be published. So scratch & stress over will I ever have a good idea?

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    1. I think that a writer knows in her gut if an idea is good--it'll be a story you WANT to write to find out what happens. The problem is knowing enough about the idea to recognize if it's a story you want to pursue.

      What I do is use Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake software to do as much "pre-work" on the idea before I start writing. That way I won't commit to 30,000 words before I realize the story has problems.

      Randy's Snowflake Pro software is really excellent, but if you can't afford it, you can also just read his Snowflake article on his website:
      http://advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php

      His Snowflake Pro software is normally $100, but if you buy Writing Fiction for Dummies book, you can get a 50% off coupon and the software is only $50. It's well worth the money, but I'm not sure how tight your finances might be.
      http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/info/snowflake_pro/index.php

      Anyway, I use Snowflake Pro to plot my story first, at least the bare bones, and figure out if it'll be an idea I want to pursue or not. Since I'm writing full time, I need to be careful with my time. Using Snowflake Pro has helped me be as efficient as possible because I don't waste hours upon hours on an idea that I end up not being interested in after all. Instead, I spend a few hours using the software and know much sooner if the story is any good or not.

      I hope that helps!

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  9. Thanks! That reminds me, I have fiction writing for dummies on my kindle from when it was free! I read it, I need to spend more time with it :)

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