Writing Crap

Anne Lamott’s brilliant book on writing, Bird by Bird, reminded me last night about the importance of the shitty first draft. There is no such thing as getting it perfect–or even nearly perfect–the first time around, so give yourself permission to write stuff you’ll never show the outside world. I was a much more productive writer when I kept this in mind daily.

I don’t let anyone see my writing in first draft form. I barely let anyone else even touch my computer for fear that a first draft might be read by curious eyes.

I write a lot of unusable stuff, but this is the only way I know to get to the material that is worth reading. It’s also how I get to know my characters intimately.

Do you give yourself permission to write crap? If not, you should try it.


  1. Judy Pennell

    😉 Excellent advice….my inner critic is like Jason….every time I think I’ve killed the monster and happily return to my writing, she sneaks up on me and slashes my creative genius to death with a machete. Okay—genius might be pushing it. lol
    Each time I hear this advice(allow yourself to write crap; book in a week, a month…etc.,)I try it—and it works. IF you can keep your inner critic quiet. So, we all need to go Ninja on our inner critic and WRITE!

  2. Good post Sherry,I agree that planning is very ironmtapt. Whenever planning a new project, I draft up a list of things that need to be done, then I focus on which action items can be done immediately. I find that sometimes too much focus can go into planning and things don’t actually get done (or sometimes not even get started). It is ironmtapt to remember that these ducks don’t stand still so your plan at the beginning of a project may go off course and into a few different directions. I find that projects that are planned in an extremely sequential manner often create more stress down the road due to bottlenecks and road blocks. Instead, if you plan your project in a way where you can have multiple tasks working independently then the independent ducks can keep the project moving forward without the stress of having all of your eggs in one basket (so to speak).

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