Just as no story you write is ever a waste of time.

I’ve heard people say it. They write a story. It doesn’t turn out as good as they hoped.

Or no market wants it. Or the anthology they wrote it for turned it down. Maybe they tried a genre outside their comfort zone and they didn’t quite nail it.

Then the next words from their lips are: what a waste of my time that was.

Stop right there!

Every word that you write, every paragraph, every scene, every story all contribute to you developing as a writer.

I have stories in my document folder that are going nowhere.

Damn, I wrote three entire novels before I discovered a voice that I felt comfortable with, before I figured out that it was about more than writing down the barest minimal words needed to tell a story, and before I figured out that some verbs are better than others and adverbs more often than not are sucky descriptors.

Sure, I also have short stories—some written to order, some written in experimentation, some just to vent my emotions on that particular day.

Most of my short stories will never be picked up—neither will my first three novels.

I know this. I accept this.


Because I view every single piece I have ever written—be it poetry, flash, shorts, or novels—as a stepping stone.

They are all stepping stones that got me to where I am now. Without writing the amount of words I have written, my writing may not have improved as it has in quality.

No, I’m not the best writer in the world. Who is? But when I look upon my journey as a writer, from word One to my latest word, I can see how much I’ve evolved, and that makes me proud of myself (in a non-conceited kind of way).

Stepping stones.

Write them.

Use them.

Accept them for what they are.

And then show them the respect they deserve by never deleting them—let them act as a reminder: they have moulded you into who you have become as a writer.

So … how many of you have written sucky stories you thought were a waste of time? And how many of you are willing to admit you were wrong and view them in the manner they should be?


12 thoughts on “NO WORD IS A WASTED WORD!

  1. Amen, sister!

    I’ve been writing all of my life, ever since I could hold a crayon. There’s stuff that I’m proud to say will never see daylight (nor should it).

    My current novels are taking forever to finish because I’m still finding ways to make them better. I have folders, files on my computer of all the ‘deleted’ stuff, chapters upon chapters I’ve cut, revised, moved. None of those words have been wasted. I’ve found that I can use some of those deleted paragraphs elsewhere. Heck, I’ve even used them in other stories, just changed the names.

    No word is ever wasted, only time. I have to get back to writing now. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Jen, and good for you. I’ve written awesome paragraphs before now that I thought just had to be included for their awesomeness alone–more often than not, they’re the lines that shouldn’t make the final cut. 🙂

  2. ::waveshandsfranticallyintheair:: Me!! I have a few shorts that shall never see the light of day and a novel of the same. We learn from our pasts by educating ourselves and getting better each time. 🙂 Great post!

  3. A beautifully written post! I wrote 2 novels before my current (one was 150,000 words) and each time I thought, “This is it! This is the one!” I’m also no stranger to multiple flash and short stories collecting dust on my harddrive. But you absolutely hit the nail on the head: “they are all stepping stones that got me to where I am now.” I don’t know that I’d pursue publishing them these days because I feel I’ve grown and developed since then. But they are always a reminder of how far I’ve come as a writer 🙂

    1. Yep. It always amazes me how many believe they’ll strike gold with their first novel attempt–even more so shocking when it’s their first attempt at writing anything. Yes, it’s not unknown for writers to be picked up that early in their careers, but it’s extremely rare, and it bothers me to an extent that so few aspiring writers seem to understand/know/accept this. Thanks, Keri. 🙂

  4. Oh I have a whole pile best served for the bathroom…and not for reading. I keep them, if anything to remind me how far I’ve come as a writer.

    The thing to do with the old and WTF? is to laugh. If writers, as their own worst critic, can’t see room for improvement in their works–even the published ones–they best lower their heads before the next rain drowns them.

    I found two errors in a story I just had accepted. I’m not sure of the editing process yet as I haven’t gotten the contract. You best believe that I will tell them of those errors when the time comes.

  5. Amen, is right! I have 2 completed novels that will most likely never be read by another soul. They were my learning tools, the foundation I’ll stand on for the rest of my writing. Not a second wasted during my struggle to write them.

  6. I’m working on a story now which I started early last year. The writing is absolutely horrid. So horrid it might take a scrapping rather than just fixing what’s already there.

    I wouldn’t say it was a waste of time writing that crap though. It was part of the learning experience. That I recognize the writing has major issues just shows how far I’ve come.

    1. I did rewrite (from scratch) my first ever novel, and although it now reads 100% better, I can now understand it just doesn’t have a strong enough plot or resolution and (although it may well rival some of those big sellers in ebooks) it’s simply not something I want out there with my name on it. But that, along with all the others that followed, helped me find the styles I do and don’t enjoy writing in, and it taught me the art of total rewrites–thankfully they’re not something I fear. 🙂

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