Saturday, April 26, 2008

My favorite writing quote (at the moment)

I've already posted my favorite quote, but what the heck? It's so good, it's worth another post. :)

Chip Scanlan is an awesome teacher. He has a regular column at Poynter.org called "Chip On My Shoulder." I guess that's better than having an evil internal editor on your shoulder, because this guy is so encouraging.

I had the privilege of meeting him at a writing conference in my town. I don't remember the name of the workshop, but I remember that one of the things he taught us was about freewriting. He had us write nonstop for oh, I don't know, one or two minutes or something like that. Said don't worry about what comes out, just write. I understood that the purpose of freewriting was to get you going, and then later you could go back and edit. Well, um, then he had us trade papers with the person sitting next to us! Ack! How embarassing! The man sitting next to me was a "real" journalist working for a newspaper. I don't think my freewriting impressed him much. It was very much a stream-of-consciousness thing.

But I really learned something from that. I didn't die, keel over, or end my career by handing that paper over. Sure, it sucked, but what did that matter? Mine wasn't the only bad one in that room!

Then, years later, I found this quote in one of Mr. Scanlan's columns. It is now my favorite writing quote:

"Fight perfectionism by telling yourself that what I wrote today is what I was capable of at this moment."

Isn't that great? Doesn't that just make you see that not only can you only do what you're capable of but also that some day you'll probably be even better? That's what it does for me.

Thanks Chip! You're awesome.

1 comment:

Serenity Now! said...

Ooh, that's awesome. And I love Chip Scanlon, too!