5 Things To Do With ‘Bad’ Writing

August 21, 2010 at 5:20 am (Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

We could probably agree that very little writing is actually bad in the sense that at least words are getting written and it is a lot easier to make bad writing good than to make a blank page turn magically into good writing. However, if you’ve decided once and for all that what you’ve written is terrible and all you want to do is make it go away, here are five things to try that just might make you feel better.

1.  Line the bird cage, rat cage, any other animal cage you can think of, with the print outs. Technically this is recycling and not only will the writing be well and truly gone, you’ll get that warm and tingly feeling from saving the planet.

2.  Blow it up on the screen and then print it out. Cut up all the words and then stick them back together in random order. Read repeatedly to whomever you can trap long enough.

3.  Cat toy. This one I have actually done. Cats love chasing scrunched paper, particularly over hard surfaces because the paper makes a great scratching sound that keeps them intrigued for minutes. Once they start getting bored all you have to do is throw it again and they’ll dive after it. If you really feel the need you could probably read the writing to your cat first, then scrunch it and throw it.

4.  Art work. I don’t study art and don’t know what the style is (I could probably have googled it but I wasn’t really in the mood) but you can always paste various parts of your writing into the background of your painting. Call it something depressing and hang it up somewhere prominent.

5.  Finally – something actually useful to do with bad writing – put it in a nice yellow folder on your desk top called ‘Junk’ and save it for the day when you just might decide you can do something with it.

What do you do with ‘bad’ writing?

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Reasons Why Writing A Novel Is Not Like Baking A Cake

August 18, 2010 at 5:34 am (Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I promised I would go back and look at why writing and baking must indeed be two totally separate events are not anything alike. So here goes, my list of why writing a novel is not like baking a cake.

1.  It takes a lot longer – unless you are the world’s slowest cook and you aren’t worried about your eggs going off. The time commitment you are making for writing a novel compared to making a cake is enormous. One is something you do on the spur of the moment because you are bored and it’s raining (or because of some event like someone’s birthday) while the other is one that should almost never be jumped into without at least a little thought.

2.  If you follow the recipe for baking you will end up with a half-decent cake (hopefully). However there is no recipe or magic formula for making a brilliant novel. There are basic plot outlines and various tools and break downs of the essential elements and some genres are formulaic however if there was a step by step manual to writing a best seller, everyone would be doing it.

3.  Cake mix tastes pretty good even if you don’t finish cooking it. A half-baked novel is just that – half-baked.

4.  Even if you don’t like the taste of your unused cake mixture, chances are someone else will or the dog/cat/whatever will eat it. Very few people will swallow an unfinished novel.

5.  Nobody stares at you strangely when you answer the question, “what are you doing?” with “baking a cake”. Unlike when you answer that question with “writing a novel”.

6.  When you finish baking the cake you may criticise it but odds are you aren’t going to pull it apart and try to fix what went wrong. There is no revision process. There is accept what you have or throw it out and start over. The novel is a bit more malleable.

I still like my reasons why writing a novel is like baking a cake but I think it is important to be thorough.

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