The very best advice I heard as a beginning author was, “Allow yourself to write badly.” This advice, given by a college professor, stuck. It got reinforced when I read No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty. It is why I join National Novel Writing Month and Script Frenzy every year even when crossing the finish line appears impossible. I’ve heard that Nora Roberts has said she can’t do anything with a blank page. I think this follows that same line.
It means, stink it up. Really, really suck. For one, it’s freeing. For another, I recently read, doing so could allow you to become an expert at your craft. That’s right. An expert. How in the world can writing badly make you anything but frustrated and depressed and wondering why in the world you are cursed to love this thing called writing?
According to The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, embracing making errors, then focusing your attention on fixing the errors is one of three key components that those who excel at what they do, embrace. Whether it’s soccer or dance or basketweaving, those who allow themselves to screw up and then learn from the screw ups, every single day, a little at a time, can push through a skill envelope where most settle at the seal.
So, this week, I’m going to celebrate the fixes, rejoice in the revisions, keeping in mind that writing badly will bring me incrementally closer to brilliance.
Will it be as simple as it sounds? Wanna find out?