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Today: mj's writing advice continues and she explains why sucking is good for you.

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A Bunny
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Good morning, Hank, it's FRIDAY!

And I'm still locked in the little room. But I'm not actually locked in it anymore because I turned in my draft at one o'clock in the morning, last night, and I'm free...ish today. Maybe some of you have gone through this feeling when you finish something really big, and you turn it in and then you have no idea what to do with yourself right away, you feel like you've been hit on the head with a plank and you just sort of go: uhh-UHHHHHHHH.

Euhhhhhh? That's, that's basically where I'm at today. Anyway, a lot of you had questions about writing, and you left 'em in the comments, and I thought today I was gonna do some QUESTIONS!

So let's get right to it. Question: "I really wanna write, but I'm afraid that I suck. How can I get over this fear that I suck?" Okay, I'm gonna tell you something that's going to run contrary to what you normally think as Nerdfighters.

As Nerdfighters, you want to decrease WorldSuck. But what I'm going to tell you today is that you should DARE. TO SUCK.

Let me let you in on a little secret. When you are learning to write, you are going to suck. You are going to suck a lot.

You're just going to keep sucking for a while, and you're going to feel like you're sucking and actually that's a sign that you're completely on the right path, because when you are learning things, you suck at them. Imagine you went down the street and you bought a violin, you wouldn't just bring it home and automatically say to all your friends, "Hey, I bought a violin! You wanna hear me play?" No, you would go and you would practice for like eight to ten years and then you would be like, "Hey, I'm playing at Carnegie Hall, look at me go." You have to suck first.

There are some things that you really aren't supposed to suck at, like, for example, I really suck at crossing the street at roundabouts in England. I mean, if you suck at that, that can have serious consequences. Writing, there are no real serious consequences to sucking.

You know, you don't have to be afraid that the first thing you turn out is gonna be a huge masterpiece or it's gonna be that big novel that makes a billion zillion dollars. Don't worry about that, don't worry that it's not good, nobody—that's the great thing about writing and not publishing right away, is that you can write TONS of stuff that SUCKS. This is precisely why when people write to me when you're, you know, 16 and 17 and 18 and you say, y'know, "I've written a book, I write stories all the time, I wanna publish them, how can I do that?" I say, "NO, don't do it," [*makes screeching brakes sound*], "stop," because you haven't sucked enough yet.

You may be thinking, "No, I really do, I really really do suck, no, I think you're underestimating how much I suck, Maureen," but I'm not. You haven't sucked looong and hard enough, and I—did I just actually say that? Trust me, sucking is not just a part of the learning process, it's part of the professional process as well.

First drafts, like the one I turned in at one o'clock this morning, basically suck. They're wrong; they're the first pass, they're my first attempt at the story. And they are going to get changed and ripped apart.

I mean, lots of writers I know—we, we sit and we laugh about the incredible SUCKTITUDE of our first drafts, but you have to go there and you have to try stuff out, and you have to suck at it sometimes. Have you heard this phrase, "writing is rewriting"? Well, it's a hundred percent true, you don't just write something once and then you're done; you write it and it sucks, and then you write it and write it like 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, whatever times, and THEN you're done and it goes from "suck" to "sortofkindofsuck", then it kind of goes all the way to "awesome".

And that's the journey: it goes from "suck" to "awesome". There are some other bits, but that is more or less it. It's g—it's good to say it out loud, say it with me now, it feels good.

One, two, three: "I give myself permission to SUCK." On a brief administrative note, John has, uh, let me know that he is going to give, uh, Henry another week before he makes him go out and get a job, so I will be filling in for John on Wednesday, but he'll be coming back after that more week, I hope you can, I hope you can last that long. So. Hank, I'll see you on Monday.