What do you consider to be bad writing? Is it the chapter that you spent hours on trying to tweak, but ultimately deciding to chuck it? Or is it the blog post you’ve been trying to perfect for days, but have abandoned because the topic doesn’t seem to interest you as much as you initially thought?
I used to spend too much time worrying about whether my posts and articles were going to be well received, that I stopped writing altogether. Coming from the standpoint of writing every single day, that sounds preposterous now that I’m looking back. The truth is, we can all be a little hard on ourselves when our content is garnering the viewership we hoped it would, and while that can be discouraging, it should be your ticket to trying something new.
I had two very distinct extremes when it came to content creation, which was: pumping out far too many pieces to meet my ridiculous posting schedule or feeling creatively exhausted and not writing a thing. I needed to find middle ground if I wanted to write long term, and in the process of convincing myself that it would be worth my time to find a balance between the two, I learned that I could make use of all the writing I was throwing away.
Do Not Throw Away Your Work
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned writing consistently for the last few years is that tossing anything you’ve written isn’t worth it, because there is always something to be learned, even if you think the piece is utter garbage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve deleted drafts that I miraculously remember one night in bed, wishing I could revisit it. By then, it’s too late, and all of that content I worked so hard on is lost.
Treat Your Unfinished Draft Like Old Friends
You’re going to want to revisit those drafts as much as possible because they could very well hold the key to your next big idea. Instead of trying to perfect them, approach it with the mindset of reworking them instead. Take one point out of that entire draft and run with it. You’d be surprised where you end up when you find yourself writing effortlessly again.
You Can Learn From Your Own Writing Too
As writers, we do a lot of reading. We read other writers’ work all of the time, but we sometimes forget that we can do that for ourselves from time to time. I sometimes like to go through my published blog posts and articles like a reader, to see if any new ideas can spark when I least expect it. Sometimes, you’re going to find yourself nitpicking everything you’ve written even if it’s already published but try to separate your inner critic from your inner reader for the time being.
When you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, it’s important to remember that the ideas you have should be thoroughly explored. Don’t abandon drafts and old pieces for too long, because they very well can be the answer to helping you create work on a schedule that fits your liking. I had a hard time coming to terms with the realization that I was never really going to “perfect” my writing skills, and instead, I decided to concentrate on putting out the best work I can. It took me a very long time to get comfortable with the idea that I won’t fall in love with every piece I put out. What matters is that I’ve taken the time to present my thoughts to the best of my abilities, edited each piece thoroughly, and hit publish when they’re as ready as they’re going to get.
You can learn a great deal from all the work you consider to be bad writing if you take a step back, and give it a fresh look every once in a while.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Let’s stay in touch.
Anisa Nasir is a freelance writer and aspiring novelist. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and family. She’s the writer behind As She Writes.