Let me clear my throat

I’m taking a fantastic writing course at Gotham Writer’s Workshop. I’ve hesitated about signing up for an extensive course because it’s really expensive and I already get a lot of feedback from my writer’s group. However, I’ve been stuck at the same level of writing for a few years (producing lots of first drafts but never being able to finish a completed second draft),  and putting some money towards my craft seems to have reinvigorated my passion for writing.

One of the pieces of advice our teacher gave us was so perfect: “So much of writing is just clearing your throat.” Sometimes you have to write and write until you realize what your writing about. And then comes the hard part…Erase it all.

For the story I’m working on now, I’ve written over 300 pages, but only 40 pages are usable. Everything else was just me thinking out loud (or on the page, actually). As hard as it may seem it’s necessary to assess what is the story, and what is the throat clearing, and then get rid of the throat clearing. No one wants to read a tissue filled with mucus.

I do not view the hours I spent writing the 260 unusable pages as time wasted.  Ray Bradbury once said that every writer has a million bad words in them. The sooner you get through them, the sooner you’ll get to the words worth sharing. I feel like I’m finally depleting my reserve of bad words!

5 comments

  1. I can relate the Clearing the Throat to my Passion which is Sales and promoting Passion Parties. The lesson applies to many other lessons in life! Thanks for the great insight!

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  2. I feel like you do about the current draft of my current WIP. As I ponder what I want to do with it at this point, I’m coming to the realization that I need to do some serious cutting. I think that’s the only way I’ll get what I really want out of it.

    Love this: “No one wants to read a tissue filled with mucus.”

    Amen to that. Makes you really think about what you’re writing.

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  3. Yea, Tracy!!! Love, love, loved this post. 🙂 I am currently in Week 5 of a course at Gotham too. I’m also going to do a one-day workshop and one of their two hour workshops. I miss you. We have to catch up!

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