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Many writers (like me) often feel they can't move on until every paragraph they write is absolutely perfect in terms of content, syntax and punctuation. They find it difficult to 'just get it down', so they write agonisingly slowly, revising and polishing each word till it shines. In their head is this nebulous but perfect story/poem/song/dissertational argument that just refuses to submit to exposure on the page. So they are restricted to rewriting endlessly in their struggle to create it and thus seldom achieve the supreme satisfaction of completing a rough first draft to knock into shape later. Or the fantastic freedom of feeling 'in the flow'. Sigh.
Finally, you manage to write something. You know it's not Chekhov (yet) but you did it! You sat down and wrote a lot of words and they sort of work and you feel really good about yourself. Perhaps you are a writer, after all, you think ... until the next morning, when you reread what you wrote, and realise it's utter drivel. What on earth were you thinking of? It's no good. You're no good. You should have become a plumber. At least they get paid for what they do. Look at all the real writers out there already. Bookshop shelves groan under the weight of their collective genius. How can your pathetic contribution add anything to what's been said already? Why even try? Stick it in a drawer and forget it ...
Click on face
(with sound on)
Writing is a socially acceptable
form of schizophrenia
~ E.L. Doctorow
I was working on the proof of one of my poems
all the morning, and took out a comma.
In the afternoon I put it back again.
~ Oscar Wilde
Copyright: Kate McEwan 2012
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