One of my very good friends called me courageous the other day for following my dream of writing. She also asked me about how she would start down this path.
The answer I gave her was probably the most profound thing I’ve written about the writing experience. It tells me that perhaps I’ve turned a corner and that I’m not as crazy as I think I am…I’m crazier.
This is what I told her: writing crap is important.
I’m not joking, the most important things are the things people should not read or see or examine. The stuff that’s on your desktop that you’ve gone back to read and may have tinkered with that makes you shudder, that piece of awfulness, that is the most important thing you’ve written. Forget the stuff that got into a literary magazine or got published. That’s polished and nice and great but that couldn’t have happened without the crap you have hidden away like a red-headed step child.
One thing I’ve learned in my MFA program is the importance of play and experimentation. This is really important especially with new writers or those trying to find their voice. You don’t know if what you’re thinking about writing and how you plan to write it will work unless you do it. It’s like any artist, there’s the painting or the song that just isn’t all that great but they kept going an viola! Art worth noticing.
It’s part of the journey to fall on your butt as many times as possible. The more you fall the better. It’s part of the evolution of you and your art.
So crap is good. Crap is needed. Crap will set you free. Crap, crap, crap.
Now go forth and write the worst thing you’ve ever written.