Writing Crap

I’m sitting here banging my head against the desk trying to figure out what to write. This isn’t a new occurrence for me. Oddly enough, I feel like I do it almost every day. Maybe that’s why I get so many headaches.

So there’s this myth out there that writers know what to write. That ideas are running crazy in our heads just hammering to get out and be put to words. Well, the idea part might be true, but there is a whole lot of white space between an idea and a finished novel. Filling up the pages is the hard part and sometimes it’s pure torture.

WriterThere are some books that seem to fly onto the pages, but I’ve found those to be a rarity. And never, ever has the entire book just landed on the screen in polished glory after one draft waiting to be delivered to my editor who gushes how wonderful it is and has no edits for me. Ha! Wow, that is one hell of a dream.

So yeah, most of what I write often comes out feeling like crap to me. More often than not, every word I type feelings like I had to drag it across a pit of hot coals to get it on the page only to hit the backspace key a second later and erase it anyway. And no matter how well a book is going, I inevitably reach a point where I’m positive it is all crap. Every word, scene, sentence—all of it! Crap!

Of course, next comes the truly brutal part which is cleaning up the crap I dumped on the pages the first time around. Now I have to “edit” it. Make it flow. Keep the story together. Track the character arcs. Hit the turning points. Get rid of echoes and repetitive sentence structures. Yada, yada, yada.

And then I do it again. And again. And again until either the damn book is due or I call it quits and toss it. Sometimes into the circular file and sometimes into cyberspace via an agent or editor. Sometimes I say a prayer. Most times I just grab a drink or two or well, okay, three.

I won’t even go into the rounds of validation either. I’m talking about when you get that email back from said editor or agent confirming that yes, you submitted crap. Oh the joy of overhauling the crap you’ve already plowed through more times than you can count.

And now I’ve successfully filled up this blog post with four hundred words of crap. Yeah, me! And this is the writing life, one crappy word at a time.

Carry on…


Comments

Writing Crap — 20 Comments

  1. Great post, Lynda. I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds it hard to figure out what to write. Or sometimes finds it torturous. But there’s no greater feeling then typing THE END. Even on a crappy first draft. LOL.

  2. I so get you. I think we might be soul mates! :) I’m actually in the “overhauling crap” stage after the editor email. I guess the good thing is that I agree with all their points? Makes the pain a little easier to take lol

  3. Now this is a post every writer can relate to! But as painful as it may be, that ability to self-criticize is probably the key to being successful. A writer who thinks every word is perfect the first time around and can’t see through to the flaws and problems probably won’t get very far.

    (Still feels like crap though!) 😛

    • LOL! Yes it does feel like crap. But I do agree that being able to criticize your own writing is one of the skills you have to have as a writer. I sometimes wonder who wrote that crap in the first place when I’m doing edits. Ugh!

  4. I love this post, Lynda! It’s reassuring to learn that we aren’t the only ones who sometimes struggle to fill up those empty pages or deal with the insecurities that make us feel like we are purveyors of crap and the biggest frauds to ever pick up a pen…or a mouse. If a fantastic author like you feels that way sometimes, there may be hope for me after all.

    Okay, now I’m off to trim some crap. 😉

    • Oh I think we’re stuck in the crap. Actually, as Alison said, if we thought our own stuff was perfect, then we wouldn’t be that good of authors. There is hope for all of us no matter how much we think our own crap stinks. :)

  5. I so hear you on this. Worse, the more time I spend with the book, the more convinced I am that it’s crap. I just keep trying to believe that if I didn’t write crap, I’d never manage to write anything good.

  6. I’m always amazed at how that brilliant first chapter can totally devolve into crap. I’m a the end of my rough draft, and I’m positive that this book will never be anything but crap. Pretty sure it will end my writing career.

    • I seriously doubt that any crap will end your writing career. Your internal editor won’t let that happen. And yes, that first chapter always looks like crap after I’ve written The End.

  7. On the flip side, I’m reading galley proofs for a book I wrote at the beginning of the year and I keep getting wrapped up in the story and forgetting to watch for errors. And I totally thought it was crap at the time!

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