Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wasting Words

As a child, I don't ever remember a grown up telling me to finish everything on my plate because there was a poor starving child in Ethiopia who would be more than happy to eat it for me. I've never felt guilty about leaving a pile of uneaten meatloaf on my plate or throwing a half full glass of warm milk down the drain. I mean, what are we going to do, wrap it up and mail it to the less fortunate? Because for starters, it'll be spoiled by the time it gets there, and secondly, I hate to say it... but maybe it wasn't that tasty in the first place.

So if I don't feel ashamed about wasting a good casserole, why do I feel so sad about throwing words away? Yesterday I spent a half an hour writing while I waited to pick the kids up from school. It was a good half an hour, where the pen happily jogged along the paper and by the time the kids piled into the car, I'd filled a couple of pages.

The trouble came later that night when I went to type my work into the computer and realized that while there were some good ideas, there really wasn't much worth keeping. WHAT? YOU WANT TO THROW THESE PERFECTLY GOOD WORDS AWAY! I wanted to scream at myself. But I worked hard for those words.

I stuck to my guns and told myself that they just weren't good enough, and lo and behold, something magical happened. Once I let go of those words that I was so afraid of wasting I ended up coming up with some new words that I liked even better. The writing from earlier in the day wasn't a waste of time. It simply lay the groundwork for what I really wanted to say.

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