Will Suck For Cash

Are you as good as this guy?
Last night I found myself out on a day pass on the town.  (Yes, they do let writers roam about free occasionally.  Perhaps even in your neighborhood.  You conservative types may want to organize a protest against that once you've grown bored of the whole gay marriage thing... but I digress.)  The point is, I found myself having YET another conversation with YET another writer who was totally and utterly blocked.  

And I found myself yet again spewing the same advice I always spew -- Give yourself permission to suck.

We've all heard various versions of this theme: good writing is rewriting, it takes a million words to get good, nothing comes out perfect the first time, yada, yada, yada.

But people want to believe they're better than that.  The rules don't apply to them.  They should be crapping out brilliance.  So they get themselves all tied up in knots and mentally constipated to the point where pulling out their own teeth through their rectum is an easier task than getting a handful of words down on paper.

Get over yourselves already!  YOU SUCK!  I SUCK!  WE ALL SUCK GREAT MONKEY BALLS!

Sucking has a really bad rep.  Like it's something evil to be avoided at all costs.  I say, to hell with that!  

Here's the thing; we've all heard that a successful screenwriter is the guy who put out didn't give up, and there's something to that.  But the real secret to being a great screenwriter is simply embracing the suck.

Don't just settle for mediocre suckage.  Go all out and suck with everything you've got.  If you're worried about sucking, you'll never do anything but...  But if you run with it, if you accept that everything you put down on paper will stink to high heaven, if you truly let go and don't give a flying f*ck, that constipated mass taking up all the creative room in your brain will come spewing out along with that pearl of brilliance you didn't even know was there.

You needed to suck to release that pearl, and you'll need to suck more to find the next one.  And as you get more experienced, you won't suck any less.  In fact, you'll suck more.  But you'll do it.  And you'll like it.  'Cause those pearls get bigger and more valuable with each massive load of suckage.  If you don't need hip waders and a nose plug to do your rewrite, you're not doing it right.  


If you're first draft pages don't make you laugh, cry, and soil your pants all at once, you haven't given yourself permission to suck.

But how do you give yourself permission to suck when it goes against everything every human being has ever been taught - potty training, a teacher's red pen, a lover's rejection, or a ruler to the knuckle (I'm looking at you, Sister Kelly from 8th grade...)?

Easy.  Like masturbation, no one EVER has to know about it.  It can be your dirty little secret.  Hand out copies of your rewrites to people on the street corner, but that raw first draft of suckdom belongs to you alone.  Let everyone think that you spew nothing but rare gems out of every orifice, but suck away in private.  Suck your way to brilliance. 

Appropriate pic by Kaptain Kobold