Monday, 21 May 2012

Writing Rubbish


I tell students to write rubbish.  Always.  And quite a lot of the time they look a bit shocked.  But I mean it.  Write rubbish.  

I tell students to write rubbish because the worst bit of rubbishy writing on the page is worth more than the most perfect bit of prose stuck in your head. Stuff on the page can be improved, developed, tweaked,given colour and life and energy and style. Stuff in your head is - well, stuff in your head. It can't be read by anyone.

Give yourself permission to write badly. Accept you'll have to re-write - and I don't think there can be any professional writer who doesn't consider re-writing as part of their process. It's what we all do.

An agent won't read your work with more interest because it appeared fully formed on the page. An editor won't clap their hands in delight because you wrote in a linear way, starting at the beginning and working your way through until you get to The End. A reader couldn't care less if you didn't need to use the spellchecker. 

All that anyone cares about is the finished product. How you get there is up to you. Write rubbish, if it gets you writing. Write, write, write.  That's all that matters.  And then you can make it better.

5 comments:

Wendy Storer said...

Excellent advice. I have written a lot of rubbish this year, but you're absolutely right - it's better than not writing at all.

Sarah Duncan said...

Good for you Wendy. Rubbish is great!

Marilyn Rodwell said...

OK! I wrote the rubbish. I've finished the first draft. But now it's payback time. I'm wading through the rubbish and my legs are aching...Lol!I mean my head.

Sarah Duncan said...

Very funny Marilyn! I quite like the wading bit, there's something v satisfying about spotting the basis of a story among the rubbish.

Marilyn Rodwell said...

Seriously, if I had tried to monitor and edit every sentence I wrote, I would have never got anywhere near the end. So you are absolutely right!

I am now going to post a link to this page of your blog to someone on FB who is complaining that she is questioning whether she is a writer... She should find it comforting and useful.