It won't be good enough...

Sure, I know you’ve thought it. Heaven knows I have.

You sit there, pen in hand poised over paper…no, wait. That’s rather old school, isn’t it. It’s so dated it should be referred to more accurately as olde school. Let me try again.

You sit there, nervous hands poised over a keyboard while the harsh light of the monitor bores into your skull. Yes, yes, that’s far more contemporary.

You think…

I think…

He thinks…

She thinks…

He/She thinks…(didn’t want to leave out our transgender friends)

“It won’t be good enough.”

Bah. Pheh. Phooey. I say all three in tart rejoinder to the thought, to myself and to you all, gender benders included. Art is for the doing. The viewing and the appreciating comes later, a secondary afterthought to the exercise of human creativity. Anything else is mere commercialism or a primped up shadow of adolescent attempts to gain popularity, to be liked.

So just write the darn thing already. Go on. Put something down. If it’s really all that horrid, call it a learning exercise and do better on the next one. You don’t even have to do all that much better. Just a little improvement at a time with lots of messes and backsliding along the way.

Writing is like life, I say, if you’re not enjoying the process what’s the point anyway?

Happy Ficlying.

28 comments Posted 2010-01-07 Author: THX 0477


  • Abstract

    I really needed to hear this right now. Thank you for posting it!

  • J. A. Keane

    If only more people like you were Art/English teachers! More kids would feel less like a tool about the stuff they do because of what others say.
    Thanks for writing this!

    J.A.K =)

  • Textual Phoenix

    This is most likely the reason I never (with one exception) kept the stories I wrote in high school. Sadly.

  • Marli

    I sit, fingers poised above the letters, and I sit, sit,sit. Tomorrow. Perhaps…….

  • The Note Writer

    My third grade teacher wouldn’t make us write lines as a punishment. She said that she didn’t want us to think of writing as a punishment.

  • kaellinn18

    This is something every writer needs to read at one time or another. Usually many times.

  • Wednesday [PJ] ((LoA))

    This is something I need my Creative Writing teacher to shout at me over and over again. Thanks!

  • RockPaperScissors

    Oh, story of my life.

  • Abby (LoA)

    wahooo….you go. I’ve been trying to spread that message through challenges and comments but I rather needed kick up the behind myself. many thanks for this large one,
    Love ya,
    Abby x

  • Sam Ervin

    This doesn’t always gel with everyone’s thought process, though.

    I understand you’re trying to encourage writing, and discourage holding back because it won’t be excellent… but some of us don’t like negative things existing. Personally, if I’m writing a story and it didn’t really go anywhere, or it flat out sucked, then I delete it and move on. I take my lumps within rather than throw them out for everyone to see.

    Not that you’re wrong. Just that your way isn’t the only way.

  • Mr.Gabriel

    I must agree with Sam. I don’t like a bad Ficly, or anything for that matter that has been created by my own hands/mind to exist. I mean, that’d only put my down when I re-read it and such. I know I’d get bad criticism, cause I’d know it suck,. so why get mad at myself when I get bad comments when I know it already sucks.

    But, that’s just me.

  • THX 0477

    I get the whole perfectionist thing of Sam and Mr. Gabriel. I stand by my point however, that if you’d be less hung up on ensuring the untainted nature of your artistic legacy you could create some good stuff along the way as well as progress as a writer. For instance, per music lore Todd Rundgren decided to try and write a bad song, just on a lark. The result was ‘Bang The Drum All Day’, which although not the Mona Lisa of classic rock, it’s still a pretty cool song.

  • Blizno

    I can’t find my quill-sharpening knife. Yesternight I found a goodly feather shed by the family goose (thank you, Gertrude) but any feather is worthless blunt. I might as well dip my finger in the inkwell and smear the page, like an ape!
    How am I to write without a properly sharpened quill?

  • Blizno

    Mr. Gabriel, I agree with you when the author actually writes poor stories. However, there are hordes of us of shaky self-esteem who believe in our hearts that everything we write is embarrassingly bad, despite any amount of praise that we might get from our readers.
    I take the original post to my heart and will follow its advice. I will post stories even when they might be flawed, after I’ve gone over them several times to check for grammar and spelling errors, of course.

    How many treasures has the world lost to perfectionism over the ages? I suspect that we’ve lost far more than we’ve retained.

  • Mr.Gabriel

    Well, for those who think everything is bad, then we might have a problem.

    But, let’s say for example, me. I most of the stuff I write is bad, but if I do think it’s bad as I’m writing it, I trash it. ASAP.

    If you don’t like it, it doesn’t really matter what other people say, sometimes, if you think it’s bad.

    Again, that might be just me.

  • In Night's Arms

    I agree with Blizno here, this is certainly advice to follow. I know I won’t follow it, but I should. I’m pretty new here, but from what I’ve read from a few people,I can see the increased ability to write good stories, or poems. I know if I hadn’t let anyone read my first poems I would have stopped completely, because I was certain they were all terrible. And I have a few really good ones now, but it is certainly a learning process. And without anyone to tell you that you do alright, or better or worse, what motivation do you have?
    Just my opinion.

  • In Night's Arms

    But see if you trash it, what have you learned? Every piece is something to learn. You aren’t learning anything by running away from it.

    And often it does matter what people say. Even if they just agree that it isn’t too great. An outside opinion will often be able to help you pinpoint what is wrong, and again, leaves you the chance to improve.

  • blusparrow (LoA)

    thanks for the inspiration thx. i really needed that actually.

  • Brebelles {LoA}

    this was way too true.

  • Anonymuncule

    Perfectionism can definitely hinder you in many cases. Research, I’ve found, can be exhausting if you don’t stop at some point and just write. When I was trying to flesh out my zombies in the civil war idea, I found myself on day four of researching the firearms of the 1860’s. Suddenly, I realized that I needed to just write the damn thing. It ended up on Ficly because I stopped somewhere between scratching the itch and giving up on it.

  • Blossom Ruoquen (LoA)

    You have no idea how many stories and poems lay forgotten between folds of paper, and bound between note book covers never to see the light of the monitor, because of my misgivings of them :P Thanks 0477

  • Rodney Alexander

    Isn’t every piece of writing an experiment? If every experiment went right every time, where would the sense of accomplishment be? If you hoard all your progress until you THINK you have something just right, and then get some kind of negative response from it, where is your sense of progress and achievement?

    Share. Get feedback, an objective viewpoint. Often we can be so close to our own work that we begin to not really see it.

    Besides, you may have a strength in an area that will benefit another growing writer, even if you think the work is “not ready”.

  • Mostly Harmless

    Being the flimflam flip-flopper that I am, I kind of agree with the blog post and the comments of Mr Gabriel and Co.

    I don’t think there are many bad ideas. If I think of a plot, a character, a setting for a story, and I’m keen on it, then I’ll write it. That’s not to say I won’t spend some time researching beforehand, and redrafting and making edits once I’ve written it, but more often than not, the plot, character or setting that inspired me will end up in some form or another in the story that I end up publishing.

    The advice here is: Follow things through. If you like the idea, it’s probably a good ‘un – then it’s all in the execution – work at it, and you’ll pull that off too.

    Then you’re on to a winner…! MH :)

  • April Raines

    It doesn’t have to be perfect – that’s what editing is for! Writing is just the first of many steps to a finished piece.

    Well, ok, the idea is first.

  • Stovohobo

    This is kind of the thing that’s kept me away from the submit button for three months.

    Also school.

  • Misheru O'ku

    well said

  • Mighty-Joe Young (A.K.A Strong Coffee)(LoA)

    well said indeed

  • Mackizme

    Well I think that you’re learning something just by writing it. If you write it and don’t like it, as long as you understand why you didn’t like it, then it’s fine to trash it. Then you can fix what you didn’t like in your next one. I agree with Mr. Gabriel and others: I don’t like bad ficlys. I’d like the majority of the stuff to be pretty good. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write bad stuff and learn from it, but you don’t have to publish it.