Quick Link: Why It’s Crucial to “Write Ugly”

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Writing “ugly” means giving up the all the rules that we have learned,  to just write. That is  part of the charm of NaNoWriMo for me, as I am so focused on the numbers even though I sometimes still wince at my writing. Writer Unboxed‘s

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Why It’s Crucial to “Write Ugly”

Holding a filthy heart.Here’s a scary thought. When it comes to writing, you may have done everything you’ve been taught to do with utter perfection, and precisely because of that, it turns out you’ve written something that is flat, boring and uninvolving. This all too common phenomenon is something I’m going to be deconstructing, myth by myth, for the next several months in my columns here. I’m beginning this month with the overarching granddaddy of them all – the myth that derails otherwise riveting stories before they’re even created.

It’s this: The myth that beautiful writing is what makes you a real writer, and (an even more damaging belief) that the beautiful writing comes first, before everything else. Beautiful writing is often equated with talent, and without talent, why write at all?

It is heartbreaking how many writers suffer from the deep rooted, often crippling fear of not “writing beautifully” from the very first iteration of the very first sentence on the very first page of the novel. We’ve been trained to be so fearful of penning anything that feels like “ugly writing” that we often end up creating something far worse.

To be very clear, by “writing ugly” I don’t mean writing about hard things, painful things, or any kind of “ugliness” – which is utterly crucial to good stories. Otherwise, you’re basically Hallmark, which is to say, irrelevant, cutesy and dull. Story is about the exact opposite. In fact, story is often about how to dig out from under the sugar coated, stifling straightjacket of the status-quo, which almost always means diving into what polite society has deemed to be ugly, unseemly, and uncomfortable.

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