Grasping at Straws

The hardest thing you have to do as a writer is write when the words don’t want to come. To write through the blocks, and the slogs, and push out the terrible, terrible, terrible bouts of seven-adjective’d prose so purple it’s gone plum. And the paragraphs made up of sixteen sentences that average four words long each. And the runs of ‘he said, she said’ where he actually ‘said’ and then so did she.

It’s harder, for me at least, to accept the necessity of those ‘flaws’ than it is to just produce decent writing. I don’t mean it’s harder to write poorly than to write well. I mean it’s hard to accept that sometimes I need to write poorly.

You can’t just always write those chapters that are the perfect balance of dialogue and action, where the prose falls just short of mauve. Your dialogue won’t always be pithy.

Grasping at straws: ‘trying to find a way to succeed when nothing you try is likely to work.’

When I am writing the dregs I try to remind myself that I am grasping at straws. The ‘straws’ are the bits of usable fiction that come with the dregs. I know that I am in the dregs. I know that I am writing crap. I know that none of it is likely to be good.

But I write it anyway.

Because if you only write when it’s going well you miss out on the lessons – perseverance, for one. Learning to spot your own crutches, for another. You miss out on the amazing feeling of finally getting just the right sentence to start the new chapter. The grasping part is the growth part.

So grasp on, my lovelies. We’ve all been there and we’ll all be there again soon enough.








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