I rarely admit to mistakes. This isn’t because I’m so arrogant that I don’t think that I ever make them. I don’t often admit to mistakes because I think that doing so misses the point, which is that there is always something to learn from almost each mishap, tragedy and flub. To call these things mistakes negates the good that can come from them. I also believe that sometimes our personal tragedies aren’t always for us. Sometimes they are for others to learn from as well.
The quote above is from Khaalidah’s blog. Besides the fact that I completely agree with her, and though she is writing about a publishing experience, I immediately thought of writing.
No writing is ever wasted, you see. If nothing else, it either cleared your mind of a little clutter or it was practice (musicians practice…why shouldn’t we?). At best, what feels like wasted time can be set aside and reworked later into something better.
Over the course of a month, I’ll end up with between five and twenty pages of “waste.” Not long ago, I even had an entire plot and characters hit the compost bin. And yes, that’s the metaphor I use for what some call “junk writing” or dreck. It is compost, fertilizer, and just the presence of this compost can bring wonderful things later on.
If you are serious about writing, you know we write to form the habit of writing, to purge our minds of all the images and words dancing therein, to satisfy the craving of moving pen over paper or letters across a screen, to process, perhaps, the world around us. For some of us, it is all these things. So look at throwaway writing in a new light. Think of it as a banana peel or coffee grounds that will go into your compost pile and enrich your garden of words.
The complete story I laid aside several months ago turned out to be a perfect fit as a story within a story for a future novel on the drafting board.
Waste not…want not. 😉