Things I Think about Sucking

I have said the same things to multiple people over the last few weeks, so I’m also going to say them here.

  1. Revision is a lot of writing. Revision sucks.
  2. There’s no way around rejection. You just have to get rejected, a lot, and you just have to find a way to get used to it, though it never stops sucking a little.
  3. In order to be a writer, you have to write. In order to have written something you have to write.
  4. In order to write, you have to suck.

This, I think, is one of the hardest parts. You want to be a writer because you’ve always loved to read and you’re good at writing. Yes, so say we all. Probably, you’ve always been good at writing. If you’re like me, you’ve never sucked at something you liked. If you sucked at it, you didn’t like it. If you didn’t like it, you didn’t do it. So, getting used to sucking, even temporarily, at something you like and know you’re good at is really hard. You may feel the unpleasant suspicion–one I have regularly–that the sucking is not temporary, that it is your writing life.

Take up a hobby that you suck at, that you aren’t so emotionally invested in it. Practice sucking. Get used to it in a forum where the stakes are lower for you. Suck until you see what it is to get better.

Be prepared to always suck as a writer in some ways.

But, also, have faith in your readers, who are coming a great distance to meet you in a mystical place. They really want to overlook all the ways you suck. As long as you make that possible, the ways you suck will remain a private thing the whole world can see but ignore.