My Novel Sucks

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

I’m not afraid to suck. I hate sucking. I hate the little feeling I get after a writing session after what feels like a day of putting one word after another, when I close my software program and feel like I have wasted my time all day. A day of useless prose is almost like a day of not writing. I can take comfort in the fact that I have written something “x” number of days in a row, that I have managed to write a certain number of words. But, I know I am going to delete them all. Not revise them, not do a little light editing – delete them. They are useless to me, and don’t bring me one word closer to my goal of finishing a manuscript, of having something credible to work with.

Nothing saps the joy out of you lie reading 1500 words you have written and not seeing a thing of value in them. it’s just nothing. This, I tell myself, this is what I am at my worst. And, I am usually at my worst, aimless, drifting, uninspired, unable to create anything but meaningless filler.

Don’t be afraid to suck.

I have never been able to turn this advice into action. I have never been able to look at my flavorless word salad and rejoice – or even be okay with it or myself. Knowing I am going to delete it makes it a waste of time to write. Writing something that sucks until I finish it, just to get to the end, just to have something to work with, is almost impossible for me. It makes me feel like a dabbler, like someone who doesn’t have the depth, the intellect, or the skill to put something substantial on the page every time I write. It makes me feel like a cheat. I’m the hack who writes 1000 words a day, of any quality, believing he can fix it in the mix, that he can use the power of revision to turn it into a masterpiece.

That sucks. Feeling like a possibly-talented potential-failure hurts.

I don’t want negative reviews.

I don’t want angry, disatisfied readers.

I don’t want to be boring.

I don’t want to be inspired by my ideas (for a week or two). I want to be insp[ired by my work.

This process, however, this having to wade through pounds and miles and gallons and reams of suck to get to the “good stuff”, to get to a polished, finished manuscript, is the way writing works. It is The Process.

Many writers, myself included, never master it because they want to create something beautiful and great every day. They want to be painters, not sculptors.

They want their writing to prove to them that they don’t suck.

Well, my novel sucks.

And, I don’t know how revision is going to change that.


  1. My latest draft was about 120k words, and I whittled it down to about 100k before calling it a book. I worked hard on those 20k words… some of that stuff was pretty good… but I had to admit that they just weren’t needed in the final product. Even as I write this now, the feeling of being a darling-killer still sucks!


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