Do You Enjoy Writing Badly?
by Writing Workshops Staff
A year ago
It is helpful to think of your writing in terms of habits. Khaled Hosseini said you have to write whether you feel like it or not. And Jodi Picoult said you can’t edit a blank page.
As writers, unless we're working on a news deadline, what we're working on today likely won't see the light of day for a while. It can be easy to lose the thread of a draft if you're not in it day to day, especially if you're trying to write a book. Especially if you've never been published before. Especially if there is no one waiting for you to deliver them a polished manuscript (like an agent or an editor).
No matter what you're working on, you must be working. According to Karen Russell, you have to enjoy writing badly. She said the trick is just to keep after it for several hours, regardless of your own vacillating assessment of how the writing is going. Simply showing up and staying present is a good writing day.
Maya Angelou famously said easy reading is damn hard writing. So, what is your plan for the coming year? I'm not talking about resolutions. Those aren't sticky enough. And I'm not really talking about goals, either. I'm talking about habits. If you focus on your habits you'll likely end up meeting your goals.
It might be helpful to think about where you want to be with your writing this time NEXT YEAR. Pulitzer Prize nominee Barbara Kingsolver said, "I write a lot of material that I know I’ll throw away. It’s just part of the process. I have to write hundreds of pages before I get to page one." Your favorite writers had to start on page one and survive the first draft, so you're in good company.
But you have to start taking your writing habits seriously. Haruki Murakami said that the repetition itself becomes the important thing. Focus on your habits, and while you're at it, maybe check out FutureMe. It is a fun, simple tool that enables you to send yourself a letter one year from now. You can remind future-you just how capable you really were and lay out your specific habits for the coming year.
WORKING WITH AN AGENT
If your writing habits have put you in a position to start looking for a literary agent in 2022, join literary agent at Trident Media Group, Mark Gottlieb, and award-winning author, Ying Chang Compestine, for their 4-part Zoom seminar on January 23rd called Lit Agent & Author: The Essence of Successful Publishing. Together, they'll do a deep dive on what you need to know, what to expect, and how to get your work out and into the world with care and purpose.
PUBLISHING IN LITERARY JOURNALS
And, if you want to develop habits that help you interact with decision makers in the marketplace on a regular basis, that put you in a position to take the next step in your emerging writing practice, you might be interested in Blake Kimzey's upcoming Zoom Seminar on January 13th called Publishing in Literary Journals to Launch Your Career.
FALL IN LOVE WITH WRITING AGAIN IN 2022
If you want to reengage and reconnect with your joy of writing, join best-selling author Shayla Raquel for her Fall in Love with Writing Again in 2022 Zoom Seminar on January 15th. From self-doubt to burnout, learn how to get out of your slump and develop a robust writing practice in 2022.