Collect up all the stories you’ve written, the ones from long ago, the stories that have been rejected, the ones that have been published, the one from that writing class four years ago. If you take on this
project, you’ll be surprised what stories are lurking in folders within folders on your hard drive. Put these stories in one document and print them out. Then read your work. Oh, the pain. The horror. You will
think, as you read various pieces, that you truly are the worst writer that there ever was, and you will throw those papers across the room and stare at them and wonder what the hell, just what the hell were you thinking, sitting there for all those hours and struggling over those terrible, terrible words. And yet, wait, pick those papers up, keep reading, and you will find a passage here and a passage there, and
think, whoa, did I write that? That’s not too bad. It’s not great or anything, but hmmm, that’s not too bad, if you don’t say so yourself. That’s just writing, you know, that’s just what it is, and as long as
you keep doing it, you’re going to nail that sentence, that passage, that story, that book. Just keep on writing. Collecting up and reading all your stories is just a part of the overall writing process. I
suppose this project is all about making sure that the process is underway and full steam ahead.
This is from the June 2006 52 Projects Newsletter. The newsletter sign up field is in the left column of the site.