“Bad writing is better than no writing.”
That’s “my code, my mot-to,” as Horton the Elephant so famously said (in the film, anyway). I remember telling this to my master’s writing class last year (probably as a way to explain some poorly developed passage), to which my professor quipped: “Sounds like it belongs on a T-shirt.” Hmmm…
I am plagued by bad writing.
All. The. Time.
For me, it’s part of the process. Still, it’s hard to write two pages of new material and know that they suck. You just have to suffer through it. Get it down. And get over it. It’s how you get to the good stuff. So many times I’ve left my laptop on a down note, with fleeting thoughts of a career change, but the next day, with fresh eyes, the boring, horrible prose suddenly looks fixable. An adjustment here, there. A few “What was I thinkings?” changed to “That’s more like its.” For me, the “magic” of writing comes during the revision stage, be it the first revision or the twentieth. And when it arrives, it makes all the days of bad writing, and accompanying nights of restless sleep, worth it.
In other words, bad writing happens. Let it.
I told that to my friend Viki the other day, and she said, “Serious???” The next day, she sent me these writing tips. “Turns out,” she said, “that this woman agrees with you!”
That’s great, I thought, as long as she doesn’t swipe the T-shirt idea.