Writing Through the Crap


Hosted by Two Writing Teachers

Every author interview I’ve ever read says that you have to write through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff.  Every blog I subscribe to about teaching writing says you have to put your butt in the chair and write…. even when you feel you have nothing to write about.

So this is me, writing through the crap.

I started to draft a poem about St. Patrick’s Day.  It started like this:

I conjure up an image – seems from a faraway land
Me, a green shirt, a green beer in my hand

A crowded bar full of singing and cigarette smoke
A drunken Paddy at the bar slurring a long Irish joke

But, then, my inner critic said, “Come on, Dana!  How cheesy!!”  So I quit.

I started a draft of a piece about the War of the Lights that goes on in my house.  My husband flicks on the lights, and I flick them off.  On-off-on-off.  We don’t speak of it, but we both play like soldiers.  But, then, my inner critic said, “Borrrrriiinnng.”

There’s some stories about my father that are itching to be told.  I feel them, just below the surface.  I write them in my mind.  But, then, my inner critic said, “Not yet, Dana.  Those stories aren’t ready to be told to the world yet.  Let them simmer awhile longer.”

So, I sit here on the couch, fingers flying over the keys, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Maddie lean over and kiss Katie so gently on the top of her head.  She thinks no one is looking.  That’s a slice of my life.  But, then, my inner critic said, “You can’t only write about your kids, Dana. ”

So, this is just me, writing through the crap.


13 thoughts on “Writing Through the Crap

  1. I completely understand this. I have a few drafts that I started but can’t seem to finish. Most of my posts lately are about my kids. I guess they also say to write what you know. They are my life!

  2. Oh, our inner critic be damned. I love this. It’s the voice inside all our heads that nudges us to great writing. Keep writing through the crap- I love your posts!

  3. Dana, I love the honesty in all your pieces. You are a writer I aspire to become. I also have drafts that I think…no, never or not today. I work through all those thoughts. Thank you for sharing and reminding us that writers do go through these struggles, and it’s ok.

  4. Dana this could have been my post yesterday. Completely! I actually did the same thing (dif topics)- Wrote about garbage (bc that’s how I felt, or at least viewed my writing as) reminded me about Sarah Silver Cynthia Stout.. played w that.. Wrote about Falgor from The Never Ending Story.. ? haha. But that sparked ideas from my childhood.. played w that.. Tried my parents.. Michael?.. Same sentiments exactly. Writing through the crap is hard. You have such an honest, direst voice. It’s scompletely refreshing. There may be more crap tomorrow.. but all the while you’re planting seeds for ideas to develop. Re Ellen’s post I can’t get, “Time for the perculator.. ” out of my head. She’s dead on. Just let it simmer.

  5. I love your honesty Dana . . . . and you know what I think just write the words because really the words are for you . . . for what ever reason they need to be written.

  6. I like your little Irsih ditty! In fact, I read it aloud to my hubby! It was really cute! Don’t fall into being your own worst critic. It is perfect —-because that is how YOU wrote it! perfect!

  7. Yeah, I feel your crap – I mean pain! I wrote about struggling as a writer today too!


    My feelings exactly! But one of the comments left on my post was about ignoring that editor on our right shoulder (words from Don Graves) and another comment was about just putting it out there and the audience will take away what they want.

    We write for ourselves. It’s our life – whether boring or cheesy or deeply emotional.

    Write on Dana! I’m so glad you wrote today!

  8. So many slices, so little crap, in your post! I could relate to each of the drafts, as well as the self-critique. Sometimes, I think, we must just ignore the inner critic and hit that publish button. Let others do the critiquing. They are much nicer. They have been there. This is a 31-day challenge to WRITE, not be perfect. 🙂 Glad you wrote today.

  9. I think any of those pieces would have been wonderful because even if you’re writing about green beer, I think you somehow always make it interesting and make me want to keep reading.

  10. Dana, the point is that all of those are slices and I’m dying to read about all of them. You are so honest with yourself as a writer and with us as readers. I love that some topics are “itching” to be written about. How clever. Another great post.

  11. Dana…that was me last night. Starting a piece that I felt was sub-par, only to have comments about my honesty and how my words are touching others…your words are so true and resonate with me…thanks!

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