Why I plan to write poorly

I added this note to the “About Me” page of my blog today.

Finally, please be forgiving with my blog here. I try to post every day because I believe that practice makes perfect. Unfortunately, this means that some posts are better than others, and that some are downright bad. I shouldn’t make any grammar mistakes (let me know if I do), but I’m sure my style in many of these posts leaves worlds of room for improvement—room that you won’t, I hope, find in my pieces published by more “formal” publications.

I hate disclaimers like this. Rather than apologize in advance for my mistakes, why not avoid mistakes altogether?

But the more I write, the more I realize the need to write and write consistently—every day, inspiration or none. Like with anything else, it’s the only way to improve.

This is frustrating for a writer. With something like basketball, for example, you can miss all the shots you want in practice—no one is watching, no one will know. But writers make their mistakes publicly. They adopt bad logic, use poor language, construct losing arguments, contradict themselves. Sure, they can practice writing in a private journal, but knowing the public won’t ever see those words makes the whole exercise something entirely different and unhelpful toward learning to write better for an audience.

I want to write professionally one day, so I’m committing to write at least one post here every day. I’m sure that means I’ll adopt bad logic, use poor language, construct losing arguments, contradict myself…all that and more. But I do it hoping it will make me better in the end.

That cheesy stuff aside, here’s an inspiring quote from James Altucher:

Every game, every industry, has its history. A history of successful business models, of successful people, of styles in which the game was played. Of colorful personalities.

If you don’t love the history of what want to master, then you will never master it.

Simon Rich, one of the funniest writers I have ever read, the youngest writer of SNL ever, and now working on two movies and a sitcom, said to me, “if you don’t wake up and want to write first thing, you probably shouldn’t be writing.”

In the course of our discussion he must’ve referred to 50 different books and comedians and movies, etc.

It’s like the movie Groundhog Day. Bill Murray relives every day over and over. He becomes a better person for it.

You can’t do that. You can’t relive the same day. But you can relive the thousands of days before you in the area you are most interested in by studying the history of the field you love.

Writers should of course constantly read. You can’t write a good book if you havn’t read 500 other good books. You can’t write a good screenplay if you haven’t watched 100s of movies and appreciate the beauty of specific shows from the 60s, the 70s and the various eras of movies that came after that.

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