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Doing It Anyway

October 10, 2012

Thank all that’s holy for Anne Lamott.  When she wrote, “All first drafts are shitty*,” she gave a generation of writers permission to unabashedly write crap the first time out and be okay with it.   That was huge for me when I read it a few years back.  And it was especially huge today.

Today I did my very best to ignore negative portents of futility, obstacles, no energy and too much of a good thing. I refused to allow myself to be dragged down by discouragement and pain.  And so I wrote crap.  Inserting some new words into what I thought were some pretty decent words.   Gilding the lily, from my perspective.

But what really mattered was that I did it.  I wrote.   When I was scared.  When I was discouraged.  When I felt like chucking the whole damned thing. When I really didn’t feel like it.  When there was no huge inspiration, no feeling of excitement and bliss that I get sometimes when I’m really one with the creative spark.

Normally, I would have run yipping to the couch with my tail between my legs to seek succor in Other People’s Stories.  But, I didn’t do that.  Instead, I wrote.  I wrote anyway.

And at the end of a tough day, when I had to refuse to discuss a job further that sounded so fun because the money was only half of what I needed to live on.  When I called my mother to enjoy our verbal sparring, and she was vague and retelling the same things she’d told me yesterday and slurring and searching hard for words.  When I was discouraged that both my books fell short of the word count requirement of a publisher accepting submissions.  When a third review of a short story was panned by most reviewers. Today, I had one laurel to rest on.

I wrote using my unsticking formula, and it worked.  Some of what I wrote was decent.  And some of it was downright shitty.

Thank you, Anne Lamott, for making shitty a perfectly fine thing to draft.

So, on a no-good, lousy, rotten, terrible day, shitty writing was a major triumph.   Because I felt better afterward.  Because I did it anyway.

I can go back to what I wrote tomorrow, and it will still be shitty, but I can work with that.


* in her book, Bird by Bird.

  1. yaoigirl permalink

    Deb, (Tina here) Thank you for the article. We all struggle with the quality of our writing but have to realize it does not come easily. I applaud you for writing when you don’t want to. Or when you are not inspired. I struggle with this daily. Its amazing though. That once I do sit down and start it feels so right. I hope to one day write every day.

    Remember: YOU ARE A WONDERFUL WRITER. I’m amazed at your imagination and skills. I think it is the bane of all creative people to forever doubt themselves. Otherwise we would become megalomaniacs and take over the world. lol


  2. Writers taking over the world….hmmm. Not a bad idea! ;^D

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