Saturday, December 4, 2010

Allow yourself to write poorly

Today's writing advice comes from Larry Gelbart:
First, you get the idea. It may germinate for a long time or it just pops into your head. And then you work out a structure. And when you feel confident enough, you start to write. And you have to allow yourself the liberty of writing poorly. You have to get the bulk of it done, and then you start to refine it. You have to put down less than marvelous material just to keep going to whatever you think the end is going to be—which may be something else altogether by the time you get there.

Allowing myself to write poorly is very difficult. Too much of a perfectionist, I guess. What do you think?


  1. I write poorly all the time. It's the fun part, just to get the idea, characters, and stuff out of my head in no cohesive order. It's going back and making sense of it that requires hard work.

    Great post!

  2. I tell my students this all the time. I can help them fix something bad, but I can't do anything with a blank page.

    Of course, I sometimes forget that advice, myself, ha, ha! That's why I like to use sessions of The Practice Room to sit down and force myself to write for an hour regardless of how it comes out. It's *always* worth the effort and the "pain" of seeing bad writing.

  3. Yeah, I don't like writing poorly. But I know I do. That's why it's called a first draft:)