Writing Rhetoric.. (You suck.. and that's OK)

So I had an idea for a new feature for the blog.. I spend a lot of my time looking at other, successful writers, looking at how they did it.. at what they struggled with when they were newbies like me, and more importantly, how they overcame it.  So.. I thought.. Why not share that with other aspiring authors?

So here goes.

Since this is the first 'Writing Rhetoric', I figured.. why not start at the beginning, the very process of starting to write.

Obviously the first step is to sit down at your computer, (or stand if you prefer typing on your kitchen counter like Kiersten White), and put characters that, when grouped together, form coherent words that, when grouped together, form coherent sentences that, when grouped together, form a narrative of something interesting.. all on a previously blank page.

However, if you're like me you sometimes experience a moment when knowing the above does nothing to aid in the actual performance of the above.

So.. I direct your attention to the following quotes, notes, and advice.

"Often, your prose won't seem like it comes from a masterpiece, at times you'll hate it, wondering.. "What on earth made me think I could become an author? My writing stinks!" Listen: the easiest way to fight procrastination is to sit on that chair and start writing one word followed by another. Repeat this procedure until you have at least a few sentences and you will find that you feel better. It's having to sit down, face the blank page and write those first few words that kills you. Then the rest gets easier." -- (Author unknown.. I found that on a blog I read, LOVED IT, copied it and printed it out to tack to my wall.. and forgot to include the author's name, I believe it is J.Scott Savage, but I may be mistaken, but nonetheless, the truth of it remains the same.)

"At first, everything I wrote sounded wooden. It wasn't until I was really warmed up, sometime in the middle of the novel, that things started to flow."  (Laura Bingham, author of Alvor and Wings of Light.)

"Write a novel from beginning to end. I mean it. I don't care if it's the worst book in history, write a beginning, a middle, and an ending, and everything in between.... I do not edit as I go. Never, never, never. I write the whole thing in one long burst of creativity, not worrying about how good or how cruddy the writing may be." (James Dashner, author of Maze Runner, 13th Reality)

So.. essentially, your just need to write the first draft knowing that it is probably going to suck at the beginning of your writing process, and then it's going to suck once it's all done.. but that's normal and OK and in fact.. the way it's been proven to work for countless successful writers out there.

Writing, it seems, is a series of stages of suckiness, from the opening 'ultra super mega suck' to 'really bad suck', to 'just plain ole' sucks' to 'not so much suck' to hopefully 'hardly any suckiness can be found.'

Now that we know, we can be fearless to go out there and not be scared to suck!

So.. hey there dear reader.. here's hoping that you suck as much as I do, and that some day very soon we can look at each other and say, with great affection and respect.. "You Suck!"

Ain't it great?


  1. Oh my gosh... can't even tell you how much I love this post...

    SO GOOD, Kevin.

  2. My favorite quote on this topic is from Anne Lamott: For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.

    Great post.


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