Monday, June 3, 2013

Laying Concrete

Today, I am going to do something uncomfortable, but necessary. Today I am giving you permission to

be a lousy writer.

Don’t panic- we’re not going to stay lousy writers. In fact, letting ourselves be lousy will make us much better later on, promise. Let me explain.

Last year in the writing workshop I attended with Jason F. Wright, he taught us that when you sit down to your WIP, don’t go back and get lost rereading everything you’ve written so far. It’s a waste of time. He said our stories are like sidewalks, getting us from Point A to Point B on a solid, smooth surface. Ideally, we want them to be beautiful brick sidewalks, carefully laid with lovely bricks in a creative pattern. Or maybe some kind of a colorful mosaic utilizing recycled pieces of glass and seashells. Depends on your story, I guess. But there are some days when we’ve just run out of pretty glass and seashells. Or we just can’t figure out how to make a creative pattern with the bricks. Sometimes we are just feeling uninspired and tiiiiiired. These are the days when we just have to lay concrete. Plain, gray, boring, flat, uninspired concrete. We have to just plod along, type words and just keep writing.

You know that saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right”?


I say anything worth doing is worth just doing so you can just get it done. If you think you can’t do something unless you do it just right then you will paralyze- yes, paralyze- yourself into inaction. Time to toss the perfectionism out the window. 

I mentioned last week that I was going to be setting an accountability goal with my mom, and I did- 3,000 words due to her by Saturday at midnight. Well, I flew through the first 2,400 like a girl on fire (this girl is fi-yaaaaahh, this girl is on fi-yaa-aaaaaaah) but then something happened and I just kind of fizzled (this girl is...lukewarm cooooaaals...*cough*). Fortunately, that number- 3,000- was looming. That deadline- Saturday at midnight- was fast approaching. There was no time for pretty sidewalks. It was time to pull out the cement mixer and lay some boring, ugly concrete. So I did. I just wrote. I didn’t care how it sounded, I just used my characters’ names and the setting and blah-blah-blahed my way through it. Mission accomplished.

There are times when the inspiration simply isn’t there, and no matter what we do, we just can’t force it. But it doesn’t mean that we should give up. You know what happens- you think, “Gee, I should work on my story...but ugh, just not feeling it today.” The next day, the same thing happens. Then the day after that. Before you know it, weeks have passed with no progress, then months, then you get caught up in all the other stuff you have to do and your WIP is gathering dust in a file on your computer (you know, virtual dust. It’s made up of extra bytes and stuff.).


Don’t let a week pass without spending some time on your WIP! It’s okay if you feel uninspired. It’s not always fun. Sometimes it’s *gasp* WORK! These are the times when you just have to lay the blasted concrete, make a path, and call it a day. A sidewalk is a sidewalk, people. There will be plenty of time later on to make it pretty. Today, just get it down. Put the fingers on the keys, type the words, lousy though they may be. 

I won’t judge, promise. Just lay the concrete. Be lousy. You have my permission. GO!


  1. Your blog is just what I needed to hear this sticky and very uninspiring Monday morning. Many thanks!

  2. I like this post, really spoke to me today. My WIP HAS been sitting unattended a bit. My dad's has health issues since Jan. and when I have time to write...I find myself doing something else. You are right, I just have to jump in and get it done. I do have a bad habit of going back to review instead of moving forward. It's harder to write than re-read. :-)



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