omnibus of untitlement

a place to keep my imaginary friends

Raw Materials

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Today’s inspiration, from “Learn Writing with Uncle Jim” on Absolute Write Water Cooler (post #205):

a classmate who (i thought) wrote in a pedestrian way about boring topics. he really worked hard on his writing. kept at it. scott turow. the difference between inspiration and perspiration.

Way, way, way upstream I said something to the effect of “revise, revise, revise.”

And rewrite.

Once you have the first draft, or a strong outline, anyway, you have the equivalent of a potter’s ball of wet clay. Sure, there’s a vase in there somewhere, but all you have at first is the clay.

I’ll get practical about how to outline, and how to revise (at least a scheme that works for me), but first, before anything else, you have to have the raw material.

A story in your head doesn’t count. What counts is what’s on paper. Yeah, it’s going to be dreadful. That’s okay, I give you permission to be dreadful. The revision process will take care of the dread.

It’s advice I’ve heard many times before, but I always benefit from hearing it again. It’s okay for first drafts to suck. They’re kind of supposed to. Most of my writer’s block comes from trying to write something and then hating it, scorning it, trashing it as subpar when perhaps all it needed was a little revision later down the road.

So, thank you, James D. Macdonald.


Written by Caroline

January 17, 2010 at 10:18

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