Hi. I'm Jenna McGuiggan.
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Writing Badly

on Jarrett Cove, Puget Sound, July 2009

I am learning to write badly. Don't misunderstand me: I can already write badly. Very badly, in fact. But I hate doing it. I hate to write when it's hard and cumbersome and ugly. I hate to write when the words aren't flowing easily and every sentence feels like a Herculean effort laden with clichés. I hate to write when I don't know what I want to say or can't get to the heart of what I mean. And since I'm all about pleasure, I avoid the writing when it's hard and bad. But this doesn't help me as a writer. So today, and tomorrow and tomorrow for however long it takes for it to become more natural, I'm practicing writing badly. I'm practicing sticking with it even when I can hardly stand it. I'm practicing the writing process, no matter what the product looks like. I'm learning to write badly so that I can write well more often.

What can you do badly more often?

Reader Comments (3)

Oh, so very many things.... writing, yes. Painting, that too. Speaking in coherent sentences, that's something I can do very badly. Too embarrassing to list more things...
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
i came here today via a comment you left on the magpie girl's website about an image of mine that was profiled there. the story you evoked about what tale the image might tell had me truly captivated and i knew i had to follow your link to see what stories you tell! i love that you are committing to writing no matter what it looks like! i'm inspired by you!
August 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervivienne
Yes! I had to do this many, may times writing my dissertation. I had a writing deadline everyday, and some days were not pretty. The final product, though, is lovely, and most of the bad writing disappeared in the revision process.
August 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterharrytimes

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