Monday, January 19, 2015

On Getting The Words Down

I'm teaching a freelance writing class right now (day job = college instructor). It's my first time with this kind of course, and I wasn't sure about it because I'm not really a "freelance writer" (though I did write for publications through my internship and my first day job post-college).

Still, I'm finding there are a lot of similarities in freelance writing to a "writing fiction" career. Query letters, for instance. Rejection (I'm an EXPERT in rejection, you guys). The ability to ask good questions. An eye for storytelling. Writing skills, in general.

I was reading through some of the material for the upcoming week, and came across what is not a novel concept for writers, but where a line is distinctly drawn between dreamers and doers:

Getting the words down.

Stephen King said it's the story, not the person writing it. (It's the tale, not he who tells it.)

And while what's he's saying here isn't exactly the point I'm trying to make: it *IS* about the story, first and foremost. You have to get the words on paper. Above all else, the STORY must be written. Short form writing, long form, longhand or computer: it doesn't matter.

I am the LAST person who should be discussing this, because I come from a long line of perfectionists. I err on the side of the rational and organized. I like having a plan in place. I like my writing as perfect as I can possibly make it. But. . .

The thought of perfection will paralyze any writer staring at that blank page. (tweet that)

You won't get it right the first time. (I don't get it right the second or even third time.)

At least initially, you have to get over the idea of "perfect" and just get the words out of you, even if in the back of your mind you think the words are drivel.

I've said it before, but if you have to spew crap to get to "the end," spew it. Do whatever it takes.

Because words can always be fixed . . . but later, at the appropriate, appointed time.

When you first sit down to write, it's the story that matters.

Get those words down!

And, as always: Be Brilliant!