Writing is hard.
Through Write Girl, I work with a group of teenagers once a week. This week we tackled rewriting. For the most part, this is something they didn't really grasp, or had never thought about before. Remember in school? You just wrote the first thing that came into your mind and handed it in. If you were naturally good with language, you got an A. Not because your writing was all that good, but it was a damn site better than most of the other kids' stuff. The kids I work with are all pretty gifted. They're at a college prep school and they choose to come to our program. So their first attempts are generally coherent and intriguing.
But they still struggle with the idea of rewriting. Some of them looked at their work and couldn't find anything to improve. Others just hated the whole thing from start to finish. They couldn't find anything they wanted to keep. It's the second group that will probably keep on writing. Why?
Because writing is pain.
My husband is writing a novel. Or, he wants to anyway. My Mom is writing her memoirs. But she just can't get going. They both came to me for advice this week. Both of them had made several false starts, but they just couldn't get past the first few pages.
They both got stuck because the words pouring forth from their fingertips did not sound like the words they'd read in books. Here's what I told them.
1. Ya gotta have an outline
2. You will write a lot of rubbish
3. Make it to the end, no matter how much you hate every word on the page
4. We'll fix it later
As a complete newbie I spent a lot of time writing crap. Rewriting involved getting rid of everything but the ideas, and starting again. Now, when I start a rewrite, I find I don't have to trash nearly as much as I used to. The more you write, the better you write. Fancy that.
But you will always, always, always have to rewrite.
10-Second Restaurant Reviews
This post is just an excuse to introduce my new segment. Recently I've been to a few bad restaurants, and in LA, there's no excuse for it. So here's my first 10-Second Restaurant Review. They won't all be in the form of bad poetry, but this one is, because I can.
3818 W Sunset Blvd, Silverlake, LA
Out of ice, out of rye bread
(a reuben on sourdough? I don't think so)
Bone dry black bean burger
The burrito wasn't bad
It wasn't good either.
Zooey Deschanel was eating there
(green salad, bright red dress),
My friends love this place.
I wonder why?