A pep talk for writers #2

Bird By Bird by Anne LamottThis week I’m reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life┬áby Anne Lamott. I have to share this gem from the section on dialogue:

“You write a sh**ty first draft of it and you sound it out, and you leave in those lines that ring true and take out the rest. I wish there were an easier, softer way, a shortcut, but this is the nature of most good writing: that you find out things as you go along. Then you go back and rewrite. Remember: no one is reading your first drafts.”

You can’t edit a blank page. And unlike real life, the lives and worlds we create with our words can be revised, edited, even completely rewritten. That’s part of the creative process. The biggest part, actually. A coworker once told me, “Writing is 10% first draft and 90% revision.” He probably got it from somewhere else, but 10 years later I still remember him sharing that in the break room, so I attribute it to him.

Takeaway: Get out of your own way, get the words down, then go back and fix them. You got this.

A pep talk for writers #1

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

This morning I read a passage in The War of Art by Steven Pressfield that I found helpful for where I am in my writing process. (I’m revising, and this week it feels especially daunting.)

“[A pro] understands that all creative endeavor is holy, but she doesn’t dwell on it. She knows if she thinks about that too much, it will paralyze her. So she concentrates on technique.”

Takeaway: Focus more on the technique, the craft, the practice of writing, and less on the end result, the masterpiece, the goal. Enjoy the journey. Write to be a better writer.