Be a Bad Writer to Be a Great Writer

Be a Bad Writer to Be a Great Writer

Reader Comments (21)

  1. #2 is important for me. When I know that I am crunched on time my writing gets sloppy and my head feels clogged and I get careless. When I know I have a solid hour to write I slow down, let thoughts flow, and get some good writing out.

    I think when I am crunched for time I know that “my words have to be good and have to count.” Instead, when I have plenty of time to write I know “I have time to write what I want a few times and then pick the best.”

    Thanks for this post!

    • Exactly, Christopher!

      My process is the same, and when I have more time, it doesn’t bother me if my draft is weaker than I’d like it to be — I know I have time to experiment and refine. 🙂

  2. Steven’s tweet perfectly sums up my happiness and clarity with my writing. I am at peace being me, and then, being me some more, and then simply sharing my thoughts – being me the whole time – in written word, then publishing it with my blog, and self-publishing via eBooks. When you remove labels from writers, and are just being you, in the written word, folks will love you for it and also, will buy your stuff and hire you and follow you. Success finds authentic writers who are clear on their seeming imperfections, all of which make them believable, credible and approachable by the masses of readers out there.

    Digging this post.


  3. “One reason we struggle w/ insecurity: we’re comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” This has everything. Thanks for such a wonderful post.

  4. Thank you for this fantastic article…it has helped me immensely. I am a bit of a perfectionist and find myself trying to write the final product first…needless to say that is very frustrating. This has given me a new perspective and something to reread when I find myself slipping back into old habits.

  5. Thanks for this wonderful post! I’m a perfectionist myself, and my ideas are over the place whenever I write. I’ll take note of what you’ve written and apply them whenever I work on my articles.

  6. Right message at the right time. Now I know I’m on the right track when my first draft doesn’t make much sense. Thanks for this article

  7. I use freewriting to beat the blank page. So I might start with “I want to write about X because of Y…” and then see where it takes me. a) It puts something on the page and b) there’s usually something of value in there!

    • Yes! I love that “hack,” LJ. 🙂

      A simple statement like that can get you right to the core of what you want to communicate/the value you’re aiming to provide.

  8. This. My initial mess is all over the place. I especially like to free-flow everything out, and then refine it. I used to do all this in a notebook (love your photo!), but I’m so much faster on the computer. Then I let it percolate, and come back through and sweep the cobweb ideas, and polish the nuggets of gold.

    Sending my students to this article – they often think that the first draft is the final piece, no matter how much I prepare them for edits. Thank you!

    • Thinking that the first draft is the final piece is such a common block.

      And it takes a while for it to sink in that it’s not … but it’s so freeing when that mindset shift happens and you start viewing your initial work as pieces to shape into your true vision. 🙂

  9. #2 for me is the one. Schedule and routine.

    The greatest writers have always set aside time and a place for their craft. Mediocre writing only develops into great writing with practice, repetition – and usually, a lot of frustration, monotony, and despair!

    Stephen King, in his memoir ‘On Writing’ explains how he would often sit at his desk for hours, fully aware that the words he typed were uninspired, second-rate, and destined for the wastebasket.

    But he sat and persisted, because he knew the very act of spending the time, and forcing himself into a routine was making him into a better writer.

    Writing is refined thinking. And the more we practice, the better we become at expressing and communicating the sometimes thoughts and ideas bubbling around in our heads.

  10. This is so true! I coach writers in writing books and more as well as create posts and podcasts for my own blog. Keeping clients…and myself…in creative mode rather than “perfect” mode is a constant task.

    I really appreciated the shot of your handwritten copy. It looked so familiar! After reading your post, I came away energized to keep going with what I do, with what I love. Thanks for sharing!

    • I had to get to a point where I was comfortable enough to share that handwritten draft.

      Ultimately, I thought it could do some good and contribute to exposing that the very important “creative mode” is far from “perfect.” 🙂

  11. Hi Stefanie,

    This is an awesome post. I agree that being overly careful about spelling and grammar when we write the first draft hinders our ability to write valuable content. We can either focus on ideas or on punctuation. We simply shouldn’t be focusing on doing both at the same time. Not only do I benefit from writing ideas freely, but it also helps in my writing time. I end up writing a long post relatively quickly and then edit it out before publishing (of course, the editing process is much different).

    Thank you for sharing this!

  12. No doubt, people look for reliable information. If you are calling yourself a bad writer, it’s going to be hard enough to be that. In fact, each time when we write we improve our writing. Think well before writing each line and take your full time when you are before your writing desk. It is to the writer’s advantage to writing what comes to their mind leaving the editing and improving later – so-called proofreading.

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