Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bad Writing is Good

“If you don't allow yourself the possibility of writing something very, very bad, it would be hard to write something very good.”
Steven Galloway

I have a nasty habit of taking myself too seriously. Or, rather, taking my writing too seriously. I don’t always have to have on matching socks, the most fashionable shirts, or be in touch with hot trends. I’m perfectly fine with my awkwardness. If I trip on my way into the store, that’s okay. Sometimes the pavement gets in my way. Cooking is always an experiment, and I will certainly fail at math without a calculator. Those things I’m at peace with. I’m flawed. Who isn’t?
But, until recently, I was unable to laugh at my writing. Well, unless I was sure I had written something full of comic genius. That quote by Steven Galloway is something every writer should have in 25pt Times New Roman painted on the wall above their desk.
I have notebooks full of ramblings and notes on novels I would like to write. For years, I carried around the idea for my first novel in my head, afraid that if I sat down to write it I would mess it up. It was such a beautiful story, with characters I loved, as long as it was in my head. I didn’t trust myself to recreate the plotting and dialogue without losing some of the spark in translation.
Then, life stepped in. In 2009, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. That’s not exactly something anyone wants to hear, but it is what it is. Everyone has something they deal with. Anyway, I’ve figured out, mostly, how to live with this disease and have adjusted my life accordingly.
I am certain, without the MS, I may have never written that first novel. I had to quit working for a while to get my symptoms under control. In the span of that year I wrote down all of the action that had been stored in my brain for the past five years. The sense of satisfaction in finishing that novel is without equal. It’s hardly literary genius, I am constantly thinking of things that need work, and my query letter is still a painful work in progress, but I am no longer a girl with just an idea, I have a completed manuscript. I am now working on my second, where I am putting all the lessons of what-not-to-do that I learned from the first novel to good use.


  1. What a great story! It really does take courage to write something down, doesn't it?

  2. I am now going to print that quote and plaster it on my wall! I am constantly thinking that everything I write is horrid!

    I am sorry to hear about the diagnosis, but I am glad to see that it didn't take your passion for writing away. I am looking forward to reading that novel someday. :)

  3. Thanks guys!!! I am definitely learning that confidence is the most powerful tool I can use to be a better writer. It's a work in progress :)

  4. Very inspirational. I just really started pushing my writing - nice to find another newbie in the field. New follower :)

  5. That's great Tasha! Nice to meet you :). Join us for Five Sentence Fiction sometime...it's a great way to get in a quick weekly writing exercise.