Friday, December 6, 2013

The Courage To Be Bad

I've been reading Dean Wesley's Writing in Public blog, and if you're interested in writing you should too. 

In this post, the comments section contains a great nugget of truth.  In fact when I chewed on the nugget it got caught between my teeth.  My wife said, "You've got something in your teeth.  Have you been reading Dean's blog again?"

I'll give her this, she knows me.

It seems every day I have to reeducate myself.

A question and Dean's response is posted here with his permission (with my added emphasis) :

The Question:
Ian H says:November 8, 2013 at 7:02 amDean, like everyone else I want to say thanks for sharing with us for so long, it’s very encouraging … your persistence and work rate are amazing. A question which might be a bit tricky to ask when you are still in the middle of a novel, so maybe you might leave it until after you finish — in the last two novels, you seem to have come up against situations where (my interpretation) your normal method of turning off the conscious mind and writing the next sentence couldn’t get you all the way through. Apart from chats with Kris and twenty six (?) years of experience, do you know consciously how you figured things out, did you have a trick to sneak the solutions into the creative side of your mind without upsetting the flow?

The Answer:

dwsmith says:November 8, 2013 at 3:50 pmIan, the real base line key is not being afraid of failing. And having an inability to not finish a story. (Heinlein’s Rules #2) I very, very, very seldom not finish what I start writing. Sometimes I get side-tracked and forget, but if my focus is on finishing, I finish.And another baseline is the courage to be bad. Goes with the not being afraid to fail.99% of all reasons writers can’t finish a story is that their conscious brain comes in and convinces them it’s bad and that they shouldn’t type another sentence. I don’t care. Finished is far, far better than anything even if the story sucks.I would love to say that my ability in this comes from 38 years of writing, but it doesn’t. In 1982, when I finally dug myself out of the myths and found Heinlein’s Rules and started following them, and realized it took no courage at all to stop, only courage to finish and maybe fail, something snapped in my mind and I’ve never had the issue. I just flat said I was going to follow Heinlein’s Rules and they work and I have never looked back.One more point, realize your question assumes there is a “right” or “best” way to finish something. Nope. Finishing is all that matters. Who cares if the flow is upset? Whatever that is.Hope that helped.

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