I was feeling pretty good about myself again, you know, that whole “writer’s streak” when all of your “readers” are telling you:
“This is it! This is your magnum opus! The apple pie of all pies! The cirrus cloud among all of your cumulonimbus anvils!”
Hell, I even started writing a query letter, just in case they were right. I could get a book published in three years! I’ve got this yo! And my query readers were humming:
“Right onnnnn! Rah-stah-fah-riiii!”
Even the constructive criticism didn’t bug me. I’m a genius, alright? I’ve been writing all my life and I’ve finally figured it out! I’ve discovered the element that is writing! I am all-knowing and all other writers will one day bow down to me!
And then, just as a little exercise, I decided to read the first ten pages of a great YA author’s popular book, and I realized something debilitating:
Good God, I suck.
It took me back to all of the other times in my life when I’ve realized how much I suck. Like the time my mom read 65% of one of my novels and described it as muddying through and skimming. I thought to myself:
“This is shit! Why do I even bother?”
And the other time, when someone asked me: what’s the point of this story, exactly? And I chewed myself out:
“You don’t even understand plot! You moron! No agent will ever choke down your query!”
And that one time my teacher told me I was better than romance:
“Just give up already! You’re no rockstar! You’re nothing but a dud firecracker just waiting for a never-gonna-happen lighter to the ass!”
But this time was a tad different as you suck you suck you suck circled my head like dancing birdies on a cartoon’s fresh concussion. I realized something amazing, something that will no doubt help me in the writing world.
I will always suck.
And then I discovered it! The great peak of the mountain we writers are always climbing toward! The very key to not sucking at writing! And it is this…and only this…
If you do not want to suck at writing…
To the never-before-written-anything-suddenly-want-to-write writer, if you do not wish to suck:
To the been-there-done-that-have-published-a-few-novels writer, if you do not wish to suck at another pre-bestseller:
Because everywhere, within each writer’s laptop/notebook/chisel and hammer, there is a rough draft, a second draft, a fourteenth draft, a shitty poem, a trashy short story, a smelly prose. We’ve all been there. We’ve all written the biggest POS on the planet.
And the only way to get better, is to suck.
So if you never want to suck at writing. Just keep that writing document closed. Best to just leave it to the amateur who thinks he knows it all…
One day, he’ll write a bestseller called One Cliché Novel. And you’ll read his book. And you’ll think to yourself as you gag over each word:
“Holy frappuccino on roller skates! This guy SUCKS!”
But he’s the one rolling in the green, touring the world, and having coffee with Brad Pitt who just so happens to be the main character of the movie based on his other book called It’s Been Done Before But Slightly Different.
And you will regret that you didn’t beat him to the game.