Writing: The Suck

A few people have mentioned that I should write some “writing tip” styled posts. While I don’t know if I’ll be able to impart any wisdom that isn’t available in a million and a half books, at least this is free.  Who knows? Maybe someone will glean a little bit of use from it.


On with the show.

I’m going to start at the beginning, the same way I do with my students and impart a very important message. That story, when you start it…

It sucks.

It’s okay, though.

That story I just started? Yeah. It sucks, too.

Thing is, that’s the way this works. It’s supposed to suck at first. I don’t care if you’re Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or Charles freaking Bukowski. When you sit down and start writing, it sucks.

It’s 100% okay. It’s expected.

The suck is the nature of the beast.

From what I’ve experienced, teaching Creative Writing, talking to other folks that say they’ll write a book one day, or that they’ve started a book, the suck is one of the biggest hurdles. I know a lot of folks that sit down and start slinging some words and stop a few hundred or thousand words in. They do it because they don’t think it’s good enough or it’s not turning out the way they want it to. They stop because when the words don’t fit like magic, it hits right in the self-esteem.

It happens to me.

All the damn time.

However, it’s important to know that there is a cure for the suck. It’s a two-part cure. It’s simple. It’s the backspace key and perseverance. You keep writing through the suck, you get to the other side, then you go through with the backspace key and get rid of the suck.

It works with stories. It works with plays, poems, eulogies, classified ads, dating sites, and essays. You write it. You fix it.

Like I said, it’s simple. It’s not easy. There’s a difference.

Getting past the suck takes guts and persistence and a touch of insanity. If you’re a writer, that’s something you have in spades. Insanity, that is. The guts and persistence? Those come with time, with doing, not talking about doing.

So, simple and to the point.

The suck happens to us all. However, it’s not insurmountable.

Head down. Soldier on.

Fix it.

That’s all there is to it.

3 thoughts on “Writing: The Suck

  1. I have dealt with what you call: “the suck” when I was younger, but I have not dealt with it for some time because I am at the point where I will spend years creating the world wherein the story takes place and then everything just comes together.

    1. I don’t deal with it so much, anymore. It still happens, but it’s not as bad as when I started writing. I think my point is that, it takes time to build up the confidence to overlook something and fix it later. A lot of students I have, or people that have just started writing, get caught up in the “this has to be good now”. Instead, let the story do it’s thing. Fix it later.

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