The Blinking Cursor vs. the Backspace Key

July 9, 2011

In my town the other day, Princess Gigi told me a story that I discovered held some very interesting advice.

Princess Gigi said, “I fell in the toilet at Grandma’s.  It happens.  She put me in the tubby.”

At the time of telling me this story, Princess Gigi’s potty seat had almost taken a dive into the potty itself.  But by a daring effort, I was able to save it from utter ruin.  However, Princess Gigi’s story had me thinking.

Does falling in the toilet sometimes just happen?

I just finished editing a manuscript yesterday, and I was thinking a lot about the toilet.  This was my fifth manuscript, and the gazillionth time I’ve edited something that I’ve written.  Sometimes I will write a piece and forget about it for some time.  I’ll go back later and think about cleaning it up and continuing on, but after reading some of it, I think, “Who wrote this crap?”  And I flush it down the toilet.

Princess Gigi is right.  Sometimes, we do end up down the toilet, but what is important comes later.  Do we get in the tubby and start over?  Or do we give up?

After I flush a terrible piece down the toilet, I pick up something that I’ve written more recently and review it.  It is like a different writer worked on the newer piece, and that is what I like to call progress.  Every time a piece goes down the toilet, I scrub off my writing skills in the tubby and start over.

Nora Roberts is credited with saying, “You can fix a bad page, but you can’t fix a blank one.”  I don’t know if she really actually said that, but as she rocks, I’ll give her credit for it.  Whenever I stare at the horrid blinking cursor on my screen, I remember those words and just start writing.  This does not only apply to romance novels.  I used it in writing school papers, too.  Professors always said, “Don’t begin with the introduction.  Just start writing.”

So like the toilet story, just start writing, and don’t be afraid the blinking cursor is going to pour out garbage.  The backspace key is there to flush it down the toilet.

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