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!
- 10 Ways To Get That First Draft Finished (mcgeejp.com)
- ‘A Writer’s Life’: Ray Bradbury on writing and the importance of the subconscious (dangerousminds.net)
- How to be a writer in two easy steps! (eileenmaksym.wordpress.com)
- Her Need to Write (cicampbellblog.wordpress.com)