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Write badly: Editor's Notes #223
November 17, 2016
Hello,

It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.
--Will Shetterly


In this issue:

1. Write badly
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Write badly
When setting up my business, a metaphor comparing getting things done to military action helped me. In the ideal situation, fighters go through Ready, Aim, Fire. A person with a business needs to go through similar steps to get things done.

I think writers do, too. The ready phase consists of our background preparation. We read, read, read. We learn about how writing works by analyzing the things we read and by learning the rules of our language. We aim when we have an idea that could become a piece of writing. We fire when we start putting words on paper.

Some business folk go through a cycle of Ready, Aim, Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim without ever firing. So do many writers. I know because I've done it myself more often than I like to admit.

We give ourselves many reasons (excuses) for not firing. But until we fire, we will never publish our work.

I've never been in the military, but I've watched a few movies, so I have an idea of what happens when a fighter fires at a bridge and misses. The fighter recalibrates and fires again, and again, and again, recalibrates and fires as often as necessary to get the bridge out of the way.

Without the first shot, even a first shot that misses, the bridge never falls.

It's the same for writers. We write. The writing falls short of the mark, so we rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite; we rewrite until what we aim to do is done.

Without the first written word, there is never a book.

If you are writing badly, it's okay. Recalibrate and write again. Recalibration in this case might mean more reading, more studying, a little consultation with others who know about language and books, and probably a lot of trial and error. It doesn't matter how many times you recalibrate. What matters is that you get the job done.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
When chemists die, they barium.

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3. Interesting Web site
If you have a terrible opening, capitalize on it by entering this contest.
http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/

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4. Writing prompt
Let me sit on your shoulder and whisper in your ear, "Just do it! Sit down and write something. If you can't think of anything good, just write badly. In fact, give yourself permission to write the most terrible thing you can imagine, and then just do it."

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