Writing well is something that all writers want to achieve. Putting the words down on the page in the best way you can and shaping them into the sentences that will become books are the reasons we write. It’s those very books that inspire us in the first place. We look to them as the ultimate goal. We also compare our work to those perfect sentences.
While it’s good to aim for such lofty writing goals, you need to remember that they were achieved after lots of rewriting and years of hard work. Those sentences didn’t come out perfect, in fact they probably came out badly. But that’s a good thing, that’s what you should keep in mind as you type away at the keyboard; the importance of writing badly and what it can do for your own work.
Writing Badly Gets the Words Flowing
Even writing something as bad as; “The sun was in the sky with the clouds. The sky looked orange and pink as the sun began to light the day” is enough of a starting point to just get the words flowing. Even if every sentence after that is just as basic, it’s better than having nothing written at all. Then, when you’re in a more inspired mood, you can take that bad writing to next level and turn it into; “Orange colored clouds dotted the pink streaked sky as the sun rose between them to give light to the morning.” (or something better if you consider this example bad writing too.)
Writing Badly Eliminates Self Doubt
Much in the same way writing anything will get the words to flow, when you’ve taken that bad writing and turned it into something better, it eliminates the doubt. All that self-doubt that crept up when you re-read that first draft will get washed away when the good, inspired writing takes over and you’ve attained the satisfied self accomplishment that happens when you’ve worked on something until it’s as perfect as you can make it. To reach that perfection and eliminate the self-doubt though, you need to have crafted those badly written words first.
Writing Badly Lowers Your Expectations
If you know—and accept—that the first words you put down will be paragraphs of utter crap then you’re free to just enjoy writing. Nothing hampers hitting your word count faster than trying to make those words perfect as soon as they hit the page. Lower your expectations, know that writing badly comes first, and enjoy creating those horrific sentences as fast as your fingers can type them. Even bad writing is still writing.
Writing Badly Gives You a Starting Point to Fix
This leads to the final point of why bad writing is so important. It gets the story out of your head! With the story out of your brain (or soul, if that’s where you feel your writing comes from) and on a page—no matter the state it’s in—you can then set about fixing it. As Jodi Picoult says, “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
— K.M. Allan