The Quality of Your Writing


The famous poet, William Stafford, often told his students to write to their lowest standard. This advice seems wrong somehow, and yet for a writer who is serious about about their craft, this idea becomes a great relief to hear. Let me explain.

When writing a novel, or any piece of work, with the idea that this is going to be a pulitzer prize worthy piece of literature, then when you get stuck (and yes, you will get stuck, that’s a garauntee) you will no doubt find yourself getting frustrated and discouraged. You will possibly, even, give up on your writing, leaving unfinished… like every other story or poem you’ve started.

But when you write with the mentality of writing to your lowest standards, then you will not care how good or bad your work is. You will only care about and think about getting it finished. And you will finish it. Remember, you can always fix things and edit them LATER. But what good is it to edit a piece of work that remains eternally unfinished? And besides, no one EVER has to read your first draft anyway… unless you let them.

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