I, for one, am the most skeptical about the articles I write and of course, the work I’m currently forging.
Every day I write a little bit more, sit back, and read what I’ve written.
Then I promptly congratulate myself on creating yet another candidate for the publisher’s slush-pile, A.K.A. the trash can.
I can’t help myself, it’s in my nature to possess more than a fraction of self-doubt, and I would imagine a lot of writers are the same.
“It’s never good enough,” we tell ourselves. “I’ve just written five thousand words of crap,” we mutter as we push away from the computer in disgust and head to the nearest bar.
Or coffee shop for that double caramel latte we promised ourselves we’d stop drinking.
Whatever is required to wash away the insecurities right?
Yeah, I’ve written a whole bunch of crap and drank my share of lattes (gin and tonics) over the years.
If you’re reading this article right now (thank you for all that’s holy) telling yourself it doesn’t happen that way for you, you may be/are fooling yourself.
Ernest Hemingway once said, “the first draft of anything is shit.”
Let that sink in for a moment. One of the most prestigious authors of the twentieth century said the first drafts we write are trash.
Well he didn’t say trash, but I don’t believe any of us would want to serve garbage — A.K.A. defecation — to our reading public right?
Instead, we need to turn our trash into treasure.
In my case, I need to stop hitting the local coffee shop/bar when I get depressed with my stories.
What I need to do is spend more time tearing into my latest bit of trash, stripping away the malodorous sections which made the entire thing stink like three-day-old fish.
I need to start asking myself how those little darlings in the story — you know the ones — do nothing to move the plot forward and yet manage to stay and bloat the work.
I need to get to know my characters better and stop trying to force-feed them actions and dialogue when most times they know the story better than I do.
I need to understand that a first draft is NEVER the finished product by any means and more important, I need to understand if I don’t write the trash to begin with, I’ll never be able to turn it into treasure.
Sure, I’ll still grouse about it when I spend hours pounding out my newest contribution to the garbage bin. And I’m not about to go cold turkey on the coffee/alcohol just yet, but I will make myself and my readers a promise.
I will continue to write the trash, edit the trash, rework the trash, rehash the trash, and yes, even mash the trash, until I manage to turn it into treasure.
Think about it.
it’s all about perspective and it’s certainly all about understanding the creative process of writing and the steps we must take on our pilgrimage to writing Nirvana.
How about you folks?
Are you willing to try turning your trash into treasure?
With that in mind, I’ll see you at the landfill folks.
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© P.G. Barnett, 2019. All Rights Reserved.