For the last couple of years, my favourite podcast has been, and continues to be, Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing, which she describes as “a podcast for wannabe fiction writers by a wannabe fiction writer.”
I’ve listened to all the episodes, dipping into the archives back to episode one. In sharing her writing experiences, hopes, disappointments, and achievements, she has encouraged a large number of us to keep trying. I was thinking recently that it would be great if Mur could gather some of the writing tips from her podcast and put them in print form.
I got my wish, and want to draw everyone’s attention to it. I Should Be Writing: The PDF-1 is now available and Mur has asked everyone to distribute it as widely as possible. It’s free, and has been released under a Creative Commons license.
Her Rule One: “It’s OK to suck.”
I think she’s right about this. If you don’t give yourself permission to suck, you’ll never write anything creative. I still have trouble with this. I write something and think, “god, this sucks,” and I feel ready to give up trying to write creatively. “I’m just not good enough,” I say to myself. What Mur reassures us is that we all feel this way. That it’s okay to suck. That doesn’t mean you quit trying. The more you work at it, the less you’ll suck, but first you must give yourself permission or you’ll never improve. Yes, it’s hard on the ego. Yes, it’s discouraging. But so what?
As she often says as she signs off: “I should be writing, and so should you.”