Writers are cursed in that we usually hate whatever we write. We get sick of looking at it, sick of fiddling with it, crushed by the knowledge that we’ll never be as good as we want to be.
This is why we’re often told to let our work ‘sit’ for awhile before we do anything with it. Don’t look at it, don’t think about it, don’t touch it, then come back to it and see how you feel about it. I do this with a lot of my work, particularly with my poetry.
But we need to remember that many of us write because we love it. We write when we’re upset; we write when we’re happy; we write when we go new places; we write when we meet new people. This is all we know how to do, so let’s turn off our inner editors and appreciate our work for what it is: catharsis. (It definitely is for me – as someone who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, writing poetry off the cuff helps me purge my hyperemotions.)
We have a lot to learn from our ‘bad’ work. I realized this as I was going through some of my old poems one day, which led me to create the #BadPoetry Series. Each week, I’ll release an unedited poem that I may not particularly like or that could use some work, but was written in a flurry of emotion and passion. That release of passion is what writing’s supposed to be about, and sometimes editing takes away that magical quality.
The first poem, ‘midnight on a coach’, will be released next week along with a rationale explaining what inspired it, what I like about it, and what I’d do to change it. I’m hoping that it will help me get back into writing poetry and strengthen my ability to write well but passionately.