I recently read a guest post by Jenny Hansen on Christina Delay’s Cruising Writers Blog about how to keep writing when you feel like you suck. Her advice to allow yourself to suck while writing is priceless. Hansen basically says to stop letting fear of making mistakes prevent you from following your passion. Make those mistakes because they’re part of learning.
Hansen’s post includes a video by author Maureen Johnson, “Dare to Suck.” Johnson is hilarious, but delivers a very important message. No one can expect to be awesome at something the first time they try it. They have to suck at it first, then suck less, then become awesome. Johnson’s advice applies not only to first attempts at a completely new endeavor, but also to first drafts.
I happened to be struggling with a scene when I came upon Hansen’s post. After reading the blog and watching the video, I marched my butt back into my office, planted said butt in chair, and spewed forth more writing in two days than I had in the previous week. Why?
Because I fully embraced my suckitude. I stopped worrying about if it was good enough (I can rewrite it later) or if it would be finished soon enough (sucky progress is better than no progress) or any of the other what if’s that roll through writers’ minds when they’re supposed to be, uh, writing. By embracing my suckitude, I felt free to just write.
So stop worrying about your words being perfect the first time they hit the page. Stop telling yourself you can’t write because you suck. Dare yourself to suck. What have you got to lose?