Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly

First You Must Write Badly In Order to Write Goodly


As pen touches blank paper...

Writing can be hard at the best of times. It’s been likened to bleeding onto the page.

Writing after a hiatus can be even harder!

Your good writing habits have to be rediscovered, or even reinvented. The words refuse to flow, and the sheer whiteness of the screen or page is downright unnerving.

What’s worse is any words that do venture through your fingertips are of such low quality that you want to give up right away and go back to television.

But, no!‘ you cry valiantly, ‘I shall stay at my computer. Maybe my flair will come back.

In the mean time you surf over to your favourite blog and start reading. The latest post is up. As you read, you fall in love with the lilt of phrase and choice of words to such an extent that you want to jump up and burn your keyboard.

With a groan of anguish you declare, ‘I’m never going to write like that!‘ and then slink off to the couch to see what’s on.

(We shall save the discussion of ‘how your voice is unique and the fact that you’re never going to write like so-and-so is a good thing’ for another time.)

The point is, just about everyone started out writing badly. Most people are thoroughly embarrassed by their early work, and sometimes by their current work on a bad day. While they may wish that work had never been posted/published/left somewhere for others to find, they know that piece of writing was a stepping stone to what they are writing now and what they will write in the future.

You cannot remove a piece of your journey or skip it and still expect to end up in the same place. Writing badly is part of the journey to writing ‘goodly’.

So you must allow yourself to write badly. Revel in it! Set yourself a word count and let it all come out. We’ve spoken before about how Creativities are like water pumps in a previous post and how you have to let yourself pump out the gunk before you can start writing the good stuff. So embrace the process and go with it!

This is why National Novel Writing Month (NaNo WriMo) is such a fantastic project. It encourages you to just write, even (and especially) if it’s just piles of random, meaningless words – just write!

So if you’re in one of those phases of your literary life where you want to get back into serious writing but you’re just finding it all too hard to get going, then jump in with us during November and get a boost.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be good writing – it just has to be words.


If you’re thinking about writing a novel during November for NaNo WriMo, the trick to winning is in the preparation beforehand. I’ll be posting more on this subject soon!

In the meantime, let us know your plans for November in the comments!

Author: Jessica

I'm a writer who refuses to pin myself down to one genre, hopping from science-fiction and fantasy through to literary and even the odd western now and then. Check out what I've written at or follow me on Twitter @jessbaverstock.

7 thoughts on “First You Must Write Badly In Order to Write Goodly

  1. This is the best title for a post I HAVE EVER SEEN. Loved it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. yes thank you for saying it. i said exactly that to myself this morning as i continue to write .. badly(mostly) or not (occasionally) .. and now I am passing my 11.30 deadline to sit down and write.. so i must away from blog world! c

  3. I’ve got my mess of words thanks to Nano last year. Any suggestions how to approach my bad pile of words the second go around in the revision process….trying to work my way to goodly.

    • When revising, it’s usually best to start by looking at the big things first – plot, characters, tension – and then with each revision work your way down to the more nitty-gritting. Spelling and grammar are some of the last things you work on.

      I usually start by reading back over my draft and finding what I think the story is about. Sometimes it’s just one page which jumps out to me as the theme behind the whole thing. Then I take that page and write my next draft around that one page.

      Look for things you feel work and nurture them. With patience you’ll see them grow and blossom. 🙂

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Leave a reply below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s