I read somewhere that a writer shouldn’t be afraid to put absolute garbage on a page. I have tried to find the quote, but on Google, all I have found are other people who say the same thing, more or less, but without stating where they got the idea. If anybody knows the original source for this idea, I’d love to know who said it first.
Facing a blank screen or a page can be so intimidating that you don’t write anything. I greatly prefer editing my work. I can edit from morning to night. My thoughts already have structure, so editing is just sculpting them into their best shape. I understand how “wordsmith” really fits this process.
But getting my thoughts into a structure on the page is so much work, especially when I think I may have to throw out most of it and start over. But I’m not a writer unless I’m putting words on a page. I can talk about my ideas and work them over in my mind, but until ink meets paper, I am not a writer.
So when I am faced with a blank page, I have to gather my courage, and feeling like I’m jumping into a lake where I don’t know the depth, I start writing. My first draft is more dumping than writing. I put down everything I need for this particular chapter, any way I can. It’s not pretty or elegant or even coherent sometimes. But it’s ink on paper. So I’m a writer. And since I’m also dumping, I guess that makes me a garbage worker, too.
But. . . sometimes, when I take the plunge on something totally new, my imagination takes me to places I never planned on going but I’m thrilled to discover. The words just flow out of me and sing on paper, and I get a high that’s unique. And sometimes, I look at what I’ve written and slog into it with a shovel and get rid of most of it.
I won’t know which way the writing will go until I actually do the writing. I have to put ink on paper.
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