Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

be bad May 19, 2012

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:54 pm
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A colleague of mine was telling me yesterday that she wants to write.  She is terribly impressed that I have written these books.  She would like to write a play.


But she hasn’t.


Because she gets in the way.  She doesn’t know which direction to take a scene in, so she takes it neither direction.  She doesn’t know how many characters to use, so she has none.  She has so many things, that she has nothing.

I told her that she should give herself permission to write a crappy play.  If she can free herself from the idea that what she has written must be good, she can actually write SOMETHING.  Once there is something on the page, you can edit it into something better.  If there is nothing on the page, well, there’s nothing!

I read that Diana Gabaldon wrote Outlander as a practice novel.  She thought she’d try writing a novel, and since no one was ever going to see it, she could do whatever crazy thing struck her fancy.  She gave herself permission to have fun with the experience, and she did.

When you give yourself permission to be bad, you give yourself permission to take risks.  Let the voices in your head go nuts.  Catch what they say.  Don’t think about it.  Don’t worry if it’s ‘right’ or if it’s ‘good.’

Just let it BE.

Try writing the same thing from different characters’ perspectives.  Try different narrative styles.  You need to put the time in and explore the process.  You will find something interesting, but you won’t if you don’t let it happen.

Give yourself 15 minutes.  Tell the inner critic to leave you alone, and just write.  Don’t stop yourself from achieving your dreams.  Don’t be your own enemy.

Write it.


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