I'm writing chapters that I don't particularly like.
I guess I'm hoping I can fix them.
I give myself most of the day to get the inspirational spark -- sometimes just a sentence that comes whole to start. But if by late afternoon I haven't come up with anything, I go ahead and write anyway.
Actually, I also figure that if I can't fix the chapter, I can throw it out. I mean, the writing itself is a good exercise and I learn something every time I sit down to write. I have faith that there is always more where that came from.
Even in books where I'm inspired, there comes a time when I have to force the issue. Books don't get written without effort.
The quality control comes from not releasing anything until it meets my standards. But it doesn't come before I write -- I write whatever it is I'm writing.
Oregon poet William Stafford had this advice: "There is no such thing as writer's block for writers whose standards are low enough."
I'd go even further: there is a joy to writing without standards. It often results in something fun. And you know what? It's probably just as good or profound or artistic in the end as that stilted piece of crap you write trying to reach some high standard.
A year later, I can't really tell the difference between work I labored over and work that come to me in a flash. Except that the labored stuff sometimes is better.
Don't get me wrong. I love it when the words flow, when I think I'm being "artistic." If I could, it would always be this way. But sometimes I write stuff that I don't think is good, but get me part way to where I'm going.
The quality of the writing isn't affected by whether I think I'm writing "art" or "pulp," because in the end I write the best I can. That can't be helped. I have to write the best I can no matter what I'm doing.
By forcing the issue, I sometimes go places I wouldn't have gone otherwise.
So...writing every day is good, even if it isn't always easy.
2 months ago