I just read through all fifty-some comments for my last blog entry.
Wow! I see a lot of angst here. Which is good, because a writer without angst is a pretty shallow and boring writer. So angst on and be proud of it!
You’ve given me enough to blog on for about the next week! I’ll start with the comments by a few of you about getting tied up in knots over the “rules.”
Well, drat it! Fergit those pesky rules!
I mean it. Never, ever, ever worry about the rules when you’re writing. When you’re writing, just write the blessed thing. There will come a time to worry about the rules, of course . . .
That time is called “editing.” The very worst thing you can do to yourself is to try to write and edit at the same time. Oh, sure, a few people can do it. Some people like to drive with one foot on the gas and one on the brake. Some people can dance the tango while they’re balancing their checkbook.
Some people can. I can’t.
When I sit down to write, I just write. I usually edit the previous day’s work, just to get myself rolling. When I run out of stuff to edit, that’s my cue to switch into writer mode and start drilling it out. And my goal when I write is to jam out 1000 words per hour. I can’t do that if I’m going back and fixing every little thing.
My friend James Scott Bell likes to say, “Get it written, then get it right.” He stole that from some famous writer, who stole it from some other famous writer.
I know some of you are scared to death that if you don’t fix that typo you just made, then it’s going to be there forever and your career will be ruined.
Poppycock. If you see that typo today, you’ll see it tomorrow. Editing is one of the things that most people will do the exact same way 9 times out of 10. I’ve sometimes mistakenly edited a piece of work twice–usually because I couldn’t find the original edits, so had to do it again. Then, by chance, I’ve found the original edits and compared notes.
You know what happened? I edited it almost the exact same way both times! Editing is a highly reproducible activity.
Whereas creativity isn’t. When you’re in creative mode, when the juice is flowing and the words are flying, whatever you do, DON’T BREAK THE MOOD to edit yourself. Forget the rules, forget spelling, forget grammar. Just let the words blast out.
Like Scarlett said, tomorrow’s another day. Fix it then. Just for today, give yourself the freedom to blissfully, happily, joyously, royally screw up.