Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Give You Permission To SUCK

Yep. My blog topic for the week is... suckage.

And how, as writers, we should embrace it.

Now before everyone gets up in arms thinking I am saying they DO suck. I am not.

First off, I am just talking about your writing, not you. And secondly, I have no idea if your writing sucks or is amazing.

What I am here to say is that I DON'T CARE if it sucks. I still INSIST that you write.

I can't tell you all the writers I talk to on the stream, in DMs, and in life that are petrified and paralyzed by the concept their writing may suck.

So you can imagine the shock and horror of when I way... Um, okay, let's say that it does suck, why is that stopping you from writing?

I mean, I write crap sometimes. Do I want that to end up in the final product, no. Does it sometimes, yep, probably.

Think about it. Who are your FAVORITE authors? Is everything between those covers a sterling piece of work? No. Some of it... wait for it... sucks.

Ok, maybe your absolutely favorite authors don't suck, but go into the bookstore and pick up a random bestseller. I can guarantee you that there is some suckage in there. And even the mighty literary giants have written some really sucky stuff.

What distinguishes an 'aspiring' or struggling writer from a true author is that an author accepts the fact they may SUCK yet KEEPS WRITING.

No one can help you with the story that is stuck in your head. I know it seems all perfect and cozy locked away in there, but it is miserable. Your story wants to come out and play.

And I am hear to tell you that your story would rather be out on paper with major suckage, rather than confined to a life sentence in your brain.

Why? Because even the utterly worst writing in the world... can be improved. Once it is on the page it can be fixed. You can apply structure and style. You can develop your voice. Eventually your writing... won't suck.

Writing has a learning curve that unless you write, you will never complete.

So, accept the fact your writing may suck. Also accept the fact that EVERY other writer in the history of writing has sucked.

Join our illustrious ranks! And WRITE :-)

Ok, I've got to wrap this up... I have writing to do... that may suck. #Iamdownwiththat

Until next week!

P.S. Yes, I wrote crap while writing Plain Jane, and the 7 other books I have written. And yes, some people that read it may feel some of that suckage still exists on the page.

Okay, um #awkward, but I'm not going to let that effect how I promote the thriller or in writing the sequel.

Writers, write and in writing, they improve :-)

If you want to sample 50 pages of Plain Jane for free to witness the ratio of suckage to absolute brilliance, click here!


  1. LOVE this post. In the past month or so I've really embraced the fact that it's OKAY to write crap. The more crap I write, the easy it is for me to plunge through a scene because revisions are for taking the crap out and making it go smoothly.

    VIA LA CRAP!! or something, lol

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  3. Great post. I love the way you state this simple idea. I teach writing to 4th graders. As I begin preparing for the new year, I am excited to tell them things like this. I think it's something all writers struggle with, even the youngest ones.

    Thanks for sharing.

    - @newfirewithin

  4. OH MY GOD! Where were you and this post last week when I had my nervous breakdown and nearly punt-kicked my laptop through the big screen TV??

    Great post. I, sadly, had to learn this lesson through tears, but it's true. It's OK to suck, to think you suck, to even actually suck! It's how we learn and grow as writers.

    I did NOT destroy the MS but I've taken a short break from it to recharge.

  5. Wonderful post! Reminds me of the "Shitty First Drafts" chapter of Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.


    It always cheers me to remember that Hemingway wrote 39 drafts of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." I'll bet there was major suckage at first--yes, even from The Master Writer. ;)

  6. So true. Gotta let go of the fear of writing crap to write anything. And then revise, revise, revise. And then there's usually still a bit of crap left in there (for me, anyway).

    Thanks for the reminder! :)

  7. So to combat this whole not wanting to write teh suck, I have a writing journal. I try to write 750 words in my journal, which is helping me hash out tangents and get all the crap out of the way. When I type it into the computer, I have a much better handle on the point and what I'm trying to say, which makes for a tighter, cleaner, first draft.

  8. Just write, crap or not...this is one thing you have taught me. It really allows you to write the crap out of a scene and make it just right.

  9. You can't edit what you don't write. If you think you're supposed to do it all and be perfect in one draft--no editing--my gosh, who told you that? Of course, if you believe that and can't be persuaded otherwise, maybe it's better if you just don't write after all. ;-)

  10. This is awesome. Last year an agent on twitter (can't remember who) wrote "first get it written, then get it right." That has stayed with me and become my mantra. Once we've written the suckage, it gives us something to work with. Thanks!

  11. Great advice to allow writers to take risks. There is no failure in writing!