“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.” (Lawrence Block)
This week I did things a little differently. All the previous quotes I posted I already had when I created this blog, but for this week I wanted to go a different route. I’ve done something I don’t normally do – I searched the magical interwebs for some new ones! And I came across this wonderful post by Writer’s Digest, listing 72 beautiful quotes about writing. Choosing one wasn’t easy, and I’d be lying if I said that I was even half-way down the list when I found this one! I chose the quote above because giving yourself permission to do badly is important. If you’re too caught up in wanting to do perfectly the first time around you won’t get any words out because it’s impossible to be perfect the first time around.
When I was a child (I’m going somewhere relevant with this, I swear) I really wanted to be a painter, or at least I wanted to be fantastic at drawing. I still am my harshest critic today, but it’s not as bad any more as it was when I was five! I used to start a drawing, and the moment I noticed something wrong with it (and there was a lot wrong with my drawings!) I tore it up and chucked it out, because I thought that’s how the great ones did it. You wouldn’t believe the amount of paper I got through, or how annoyed my parents were…
So allow yourself to do badly. It’s only your first draft, you can fix things once all the words are out. Create a mess first, and make peace with the fact that true perfection is about as unobtainable as us walking on a distant planet three galaxies over in ten years time.
For more weekly quotes, check out this page here.