So Bad, I Had to Burn it

Writing as a full-time profession can be very challenging. It is no less daunting for a free-lancer. I know this from experience. Whatever stage you are in, there are dry spells that emerge periodically. They are expected and happen to even the greatest talent. Writer’s block is well known in the field and most of the time it disappears. You get more rest or go on vacation for a change of scene. You might be exercising more and eating better. You leave that pesky boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t understand you.  If you are about to launch a career, don’t let scary writer’s block deter you. You can deal with it. If you have honed your craft and enjoy a rich imagination, you will prevail. I work at it daily and some work is better than others. I am my own worst judge. If this is the case for you, it is best to give friends or family your rough drafts, so you won’t be too hard on yourself.

There are those amazing times when I simply love what I have written. I think it is the best thing on earth. I can’t wait to show the world. It is called being published. Then there are moments when the work is so bad that I cringe. I can’t accept a single word and I want to erase it all and start over. When this happens, I often print out the article or story and set it aside, so I can re-evaluate it later. Sometimes when you get in a better mood, suddenly your work seems superior. You see it with fresh eyes. At these times, I feel most productive. I can’t leave the laptop. I wish I could say this happens most of the time, but it doesn’t.

Recently, I printed out something that was so bad I wanted to burn it right on the spot. It didn’t have any redeeming qualities. Not even an in-depth rewrite could salvage it. The story was dull, and the tone was off. Sure, it was fine in terms of spelling and grammar and the word usage was fine. But something didn’t ring true and the characters and plot were not compelling. It was just bad, bad, bad. I didn’t do my usual ritual of setting it aside. You know what? I threw it in the stainless-steel kitchen sink and lit a match. I watched it smolder, blacken, and finally go up in small flames. Only a charcoal residue remained. I turned on the Kohler faucet (one of these) that can handle any challenge and I doused the embers thoroughly. I scooped them up and tossed them in the trash. The story was gone, mercifully, and I could move on.