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Monday, October 17, 2011

“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.” –Julia Cameron

How many times do you stop to read over what you’ve written and cringe at how awful it is? How often do you stop writing because of that?

First off, don’t reread something you’ve just written if you can help it. If you must transcribe longhand to the computer, do so by focusing only on the keys you need to hit with your fingers to get the words accurately recorded, then close the file and wait. Preferably a week or two. Or a month. When you go back, you will be able to be more objective.

Secondly, even if your writing legitimately deserves a cringe or at least a scowl, don’t give up. Bad writing begets good writing. Here’s a bonus quote for you: “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

Blog “Strangle Your Muse” author Sandy Ackers compares writing to mining. You have to dig through a lot of dirt to find a single diamond. So happily scribble junk, garbage, crap, anything at all. Fling words at the page with abandon, spend them frivolously, and at the end of the day, sift through them for the gems.

“Embrace your mediocre writing and your pieces that fizzle out. Because the more rock you chisel through, the closer you get to a diamond.” –Sandy Ackers

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