Write like no one is watching

I spent a little over three months agonizing over a short story I am writing. I was just near the end of wrapping it up, and I simply could not bring myself to finish it.

I’ve rewritten solely the ending about forty-five times and I was not happy. Normally, I didn’t find that high of a draft number unnerving but somehow as I wrote yet another draft last night, I couldn’t deal with the words on my screen anymore.

This was my writing process:

notes → outline → writing paragraphs → erasing all/most of those paragraphs → rewriting

Clearly this was a process that was not working in my favor. So I spent some time to identify what exactly my ending was lacking. I concluded that there were few details here and there which needed to be worded in a particular way, but all in all, the ending was good to go. Honestly. I have communicated what I wanted to communicate, and that too fairly effectively.

So what was the problem, you ask? It’s me. I am overly critical and judgmental of my own writing to the point where I demolish my writing bit by bit.

I have also come across plenty of articles that suggest that I allow myself to write poorly first. I need to finish a full draft from beginning to end. Then, I should go crazy with the editing and revising. After this much needed reflection, I vowed to let myself write the shittiest draft I could before I erased anything more than a typographical error.

This evening, I am happy to say I finished a true draft. A measly, repugnant and hairy draft of my story. I allowed myself to write poorly, and now I can give into this urge of mine to hack away at, tweak, wax and buff till my story gleams in the sun.

Write like no one is watching, yourself included; it is absolutely liberating!