I have come to understand with myself that real writing doesn’t even begin until crappy writing is on the page. That’s when I have the leisure to go back and make something as good as I can make it at my current level in my writing development. And, yes, striving to make it better and better and actually growing as a writer are both parts of the writing process. But sometimes my unpolished early pieces are so pure and unadorned that they shine with a unique luster; and sometimes my polished later pieces are so technically perfect and complicated that they feel a bit overworked and dull. I have come to conclude a few truths about my writing based on the response to my pieces on my blog:
1) If I think my writing is brilliant, then it will not get the response I was hoping for.
2) If my piece is written out of pure sincerity, then most of my readers will like it even if it’s imperfectly written.
3) If I bare my soul on the page, some people will be uncomfortable but many will thank me.
4) If I write about anything that holds particular significance to me, from the beauty of a night at our orange grove to my feelings about losing four siblings, my readers will circle close and let me know they enjoyed it.
5) If I try to wax poetic on some philosophical point that’s important to me, forget it. Nobody wants to read it.
6) If I put a picture of my grandchildren online, this will usually receive more responses than anything I have written.
7) If I get one person who tells me that they like/love/appreciate my writing, I’m good to go for at least another week or so.
8) I never ask my husband’s opinion on my writing and try to only bring up my blog if my kids mention it. Too much pressure from me for high fives from them.
9) On the rare pieces that I write that I truly like, I can pretty much be assured if they are simple, sincere and about my childhood or my relationships, my readers will like them too.
10) Ultimately, my writing has to be for me alone with the knowledge at all times that I do not yet have the skill to get what I really want to express adequately on the page.
When I give myself a hard time, I remind myself of the above truths, write something that may or may not be up to my own personal standards and then hit SEND for my blog (to meet my deadline). Often, I go back to those pieces, clean them up and then submit them for publication. I’ve had decent luck with that approach.
Hope this is helpful. Time to just write and let the worry fall to the wayside.