Writing Wednesday: Get It Down

writers, get it down, william faulkner, writing tips, writing quotes, writing progress, first draft

Take a chance. Get it down on the page. It may be bad. It may be good. Regardless, you don’t know. As long as you’ve got something down on the page, you’ve got something to work with, no matter how bad it may seem. At the very least, you would have made a beginning. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve written something, to think, ‘Oh God, this is absolute shite.’ How many times I’ve finished a round of editing, brain-exhausted, body-exhausted and soul-exhausted, thinking, ‘I’m never going to get things right. This is hopeless.’ But the goal is to keep keeping on, to continue to work at it, and soon enough, the great shapeless hunk of rock that looked like it could never be anything but a great shapeless hunk of rock will start to look something like a horse. You will see mane and tail, you will see muscle emerge. At certain stages, it won’t look like anything you ever wanted it to be. At certain stages, it will and you will be filled with elation. And at certain times, you would want to smash it all with a hammer and simply give up. But you won’t, because there is a deep well of creativity somewhere inside of you that flows, sometimes at a trickle, sometimes in great gushes, and its power will move you to keep going. And then somewhere toward in the end, you will watch with wide eyes, as the horse (the sculptor’s analogy for our manuscript, of course) in its entirety begins to emerge and you see before you the result of something you never thought possible, that you never thought could have come from your own mind and your own sweat and blood and tears. And suddenly, you whisper to yourself, a revelation: “I am a writer.”

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