I’ve been blog hopping, reading about other people’s lives, seeing how they write and what they write about. One post introduced me to Maureen Johnson. Maureen said that when you’re first learning to write you have to suck and it. It was very funny and very cute and I laughed and thought about posting it on Facebook. “I have permission to suck and do whatever I need to do to get better.”
That same afternoon I sent off a little script to my parents. And I sat and looked those 7 pages and thought do you really want to do this? Do you believe in it? Is that warm feeling of pride when you read it enough to send it to someone else? The words of Julia Cameron came back to me and I wondered if I was testing myself in some way giving my censors a reason to give up? Even if it is just saying these are some topics that I’m thinking about now? And those words of “you suck” echoed in my head. I have to suck; I’m starting from scratch all over again.
The ego part of me loves my writing even when it can (and can’t) see the mistakes and knows what it wants to do to make it better but is not sure how or to cope with making it a bigger idea. It loves all the ideas I have written down and it is scared at making them into full stories. Knowing that for a while they will need to “suck.”
Now don’t get me wrong: I am a firm believer in the “Shitty First Draft” and know that the more you work on things the better you become. I have heard lots of writers (in books and on TV) say that the best lessons you teach yourself about writing are in the writing you do yourself; you start writing something and when it’s not what you want you write it again and again until you get what you want. But I took the word suck very personally.
I sent an opening with this script that explained what I wanted to be able to do a little while down the road with the script but I was just happy at the little seven pages that I had. And then I revolted against the idea of sucking. It hurt that Maureen had told me that my work needed to suck. So I don’t suck. So there Maureen Johnson! My writing is the way it is because I'm still learning… I'm a work in progress. And sucking is just a state of mind that I can't handle.