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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Freedom to Suck

The hardest part of starting a novel for me was letting go of my perfectionism and being OK with my utter suckiness. At the start—back when I was clawing my eyes out over the first chapter—I couldn’t move on until every word was just right.

But then I saw this video from the All Powerful Maureen Johnson. I thought, “Hm, wildly successful authors have sucky first drafts? Seriously?”

And then I watched it again just to be sure there were no footnotes that said “Ha Ha—loser! My first drafts never suck. If yours do, you’re not cut out to be an author! Ha ha ha ha ha ha.” I imagined that last part scrolling across the screen as Maureen Johnson repeated the word suckitude.

Good thing she was not kidding. Her writing sucks at the start. Other writers have said their writing sucks at the start. Natalie Whipple just posted something on this yesterday and guess what? Her writing sucks at the start. So why can’t I let mine? (Let’s be honest: It’s going to anyways.)

Maybe there are geniuses out there who sneeze onto a piece of paper and 20 years in the future eager lit students study it for their thesis. But most people are not geniuses. I am not a genius.

I will suck at first. I’m okay with that.

Are you?

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