Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The one that sucks.

So, I had an idea for a story. This is notable because I don't often have ideas for stories. I know what you're thinking, "what kind of writer doesn't have ideas for stories?" Well, me. I learned in graduate school that my writing talents lie more in the construction of a story - putting sentences together and organizing the scenes. Some are "Idea People", and these are the people who tend to have endless story ideas. When it's time to flesh out the story and actually WRITE it, though? That's where I come in. I'm fine with this time-proven fact about my writing; I've long since accepted it.

Which brings me back to why my having an idea is notable.

I ran my idea by my husband - a great idea guy. He actually liked it (other story ideas I've had over the years, though few and far between, haven't fared so well), and he proceeded to make suggestions about the storyline and plot. I nodded and added the appropriate, "mm-hmm" when applicable all the while my mind was racing with the possibilities.

I decided the idea would lend itself best to a short story, and I even went as far as to outline the plot points and general scene order. I must tell you - it was thrilling. In recent years when I've gotten up the gumption to write I insisted on doing it all free form - no outlining a plot or story idea. In some cases, all I started out with was a main character whose only attribute I'd decided on was whether it was a male or female.

Having been one of those geeky students who loved homework, outlining a story is right up my alley. I felt much more grounded and, dare I say prepared, before I even wrote a single word of the story.

Then today I sat down to start writing. You know how the saying goes, "It's just like riding a bike..."? Well, that totally doesn't apply to writing. At least, it didn't apply to me today. I felt like I was writing a Joy Fielding book for how fitfully and elementary the words were coming out of me ("This is Jane. She is a girl. See Jane wear a dress. Nice dress, Jane.")

My fingers are rusty.

It's going to take a while to get back into the swing of things, so to speak. I don't know why I thought the story would flow out of me perfectly on my very first stab at it (but let's face it, I kind of did). For a few minutes I let myself be a little depressed. I sulked around the living room and ate a rice krispie treat to quell my disappointment.

But then, I decided it doesn't matter if the first draft sucks. In fact, first drafts are supposed to suck - isn't that a rule? So, I gave myself permission to suck. And you know what? I wrote almost three pages. Three pages of crap, but three pages nonetheless.

I consider that a win.

1 comment:

  1. Many people have said, and I find it to be true, that writing is like any other skill - you need practice to keep it at up. I am the same way - and have tried to denote x amount of time per week to writing in hopes that I can exercise the muscle and get it back in the swing. I think you will do great!!