Bad writing is better than no writing. The first time I said this was in grad school (my professor said it sounded like something that belonged on a T-shirt), and I’ve said it on this blog here and there, but all weekend long I’ve been thinking about how true this is. Now that Baby Grand is available for Kindle on Amazon, I’ve been getting so many wonderful comments from friends, family and colleagues. “You’re a wonderful writer,” said one. “Great read on a holiday weekend. Loved it,” said another. And I think about how this book looked in the beginning, the days I stared at my computer screen and thought, This is awful. Or the days that a scene was just a collection of random thoughts jotted on a page.
Writing is like sculpting or whittling: You start with a block of clay or wood and then slowly (and I mean slowly!), you transform it into something interesting and, if you keep going, perhaps something amazing. And lots of times you can see the end result as you go, but sometimes you can’t. Sometimes all you see is a collection of random thoughts jotted on a page.
But always remember that there can be no good writing — or great writing — without those random thoughts, without the bad writing coming first. Baby Grand would never have been if I had stopped at the bad writing, if I had given up.
Bad writing — as terrible as you think it is — can be edited and made better. No writing is just no writing.