304. Dispatches on what’s worth writing, vol. ∞

I promise: I’ve been writing. I really have. Lots of words lots of places.

Max and I are finally writing something together about Star Wars and football. Beyond that, I’ve filled a notebook and a half with ideas for a new book. So stop it with the texts and snaps and FB messages about whether I quit this blog. Stop making valid points that prick my creative guilt.

Some of my ideas are so good, in my head at least, that I’m afraid to not do them justice. A familiar writerly insecurity that occasionally becomes paralyzing. I’m not good enough to write this yet; I don’t have the time to write this yet; I can’t commit to publishing a rough draft of something yet, especially when it needs more work.

Which ideas are worth burnishing? How long do you burnish them before putting them on display? When Bono has a final draft of a U2 album prepared, sometimes he’ll destroy the individual tracks used to build it. That way, he’s not tempted to overtinker or raze the album altogether.

My dad’s given me enough demonstrative evidence to know that you should never want creative insecurity to go away. When it does, you’re shot, right? Losing that insecurity just means you’ve severed an important synapse between yourself and criticism. Rob Neyer wrote that within your craft, “the moment you expect charity, you’re admitting your irrelevance.” I’ve always loved that.

Remember when the ace forensics expert in the Scott Peterson trial wilted under cross-examination and asked the prosecution to “cut him some slack,” dooming a guilty man to prison? No? I’m the only one?

Well, that’s as good a note to end on as any.

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