July 12, 2013

Don’t Publish Everything

Just because you wrote it, doesn’t mean someone else should read it. It’s harsh, I know, but true nonetheless. It really doesn’t matter how many words you have written, it might not be publish-worthy even if you spent years writing them. Book manuscripts comes to mind, but the same trail of thought should be applied to most written things, including blog posts, emails and yes, even tweets and Facebook updates.

Whenever you write something that turns out not to be publish-worthy, you have to decide whether to continue working on it, or not and start over. Edit and revise, or hide in your digital sock drawer, so to speak. There are no middle grounds here, and no shortcuts.

Every time you trash something you’ve written, you feel bad about it, perhaps even doubt your writing skills. Don’t, at least not for trashing your words. On the contrary, understanding when something isn’t good enough, beyond salvation, is a skill every writer needs. Cherish it.

What’s good enough to publish, well, that’s a completely different story altogether.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.