As an Author, Sometimes You Have to Write Crap. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Monday, October 23, 2017


writer's block


Please excuse the language, but it seemed the best way to get the point across.

Lots of folks want to write a book, but still relatively few do. They wait for the inspiration to flow effortlessly from their sub-conscious and onto the page and they are crippled when it doesn’t happen. Undoubtedly, there are days when writing does seem to rise from a hidden force within and those days are magical. Athletes describe it as being “in the zone” and for a writer it is a golden day.

However, there are also days when the blank page stares back with nothing more than a blinking cursor. These are the days when the writers step up and the weak walk away. They will blame writer’s block – a lack of creative juices. Personally, I believe writer’s block is at best an excuse and at worst a myth. How many professions can afford to suffer from a “block”?

Aside from authoring books, I have written hundreds of feature articles for many and varied editors around the globe. What they all have in common are unforgiving deadlines. They need a pre-determined amount of words by a given date and it’s non-negotiable. Those words come together through perspiration and not inspiration. The piece can only be written through spending hours in the seat and pounding the keyboard, even when the muse is nowhere to be seen.

As a consequence, sometimes the words don’t flow, they are forced out like a painful bowel movement. And to extend the metaphor, they are crap. But that’s okay! Now you have something to work with, something to craft and refine. If you walk away from writing whenever you feel uninspired, I can guarantee you will never write very much. You can’t edit a blank page.

The most awkward sentences and a few relevant dot points are far better than procrastinating. It is a starting point that not only begins the process on the page, but starts to stir the creativity within that you ultimately seek. The sub-conscious will not switch off when the computer shuts down and by the next time that you begin to write, it will be far easier.

We are all in this together and striving to be better writers. The key is to persevere. Whether it is physical exercise or an academic endeavour, there will be an undesirable threshold that must be pushed through on the way to the goal and giving up achieves absolutely nothing. The first draft may be horrific in your eyes, but they are only your eyes that are reading the words. You don’t have to share it or publish it in that first instance, it is merely the raw clay waiting to be sculptured. Revisit, refine and then rejoice. The effort will be worthwhile.

Set yourself deadlines, persevere and be prepared to not have the most magnificent prose at the first attempt. Engaging writing is as much about effort as it is about art – it is a discipline. Please excuse the language, but as an author, sometimes you just have to write crap.


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