Writing Lessons: Be Willing to Write Poorly

The reflection of the tin ceiling in the glass-topped table created the illusion of a textured tablecloth.

I take zillions* of photos. Every now and then, one turns out well.

I grabbed my camera,
took a shot,
liked the result.

It can happen.
Every so often
a photo just turns out well.

People don’t need to know
how many turn out poorly.

* * *

It isn’t just about
subject and setting
and lighting and line
and texture and color.
You can have all that
and still be missing
an essential ingredient:
someone willing to run the risk
that the photo might turn out poorly

Same with writing.

enough to make you want to capture it,
go ahead and try it.

Get a sentence on paper.
Add another. Keep going.

Run the risk it’ll turn out poorly
every so often
something turns out well.

People don’t really need to know
about the attempts that made you groan
and declare you’re never writing anything again, ever.

If you seriously want to write, be willing to run the risk.
YOU are an essential ingredient.

*okay, maybe not zillions….yet, but hundreds!

* * *
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About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
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3 Responses to Writing Lessons: Be Willing to Write Poorly

  1. So true! I use this analogy in my writing workshops at Laity Lodge. No one worries about taking too many pictures any more. What’s the risk of a bad picture these days? Nothing. Just delete the digital trash and move on.

    For some reason, we get so attached to our words. We talk about writers who bleed from their pens and such. Nonsense. Our words are disposable just like our digital photos. The quicker we are to delete obvious misfires, the better.

    We must learn to see when our writing is out of focus, when the subject isn’t well positioned in the composition. And we must ruthlessly delete the writing that doesn’t work out like we expected and hoped. So what? Just write more this afternoon or in the morning. It doesn’t cost a thing except time.


  2. Belinda says:

    As always you are an encouragement Marilyn. Thank you!


  3. Ramon Mayo says:

    This is the biggest fear that keeps me from writing more. But what I have learned from the greats in any endeavor is that they produced a large quantity of work. Much of it was poor but then there was that masterpiece and we are so much the better for it. Thanks Marilyn!


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