Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Bitter Truth # 2

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jul• 27•12

Bitter Truth: being good is probably not enough
Since I was part of the Baby Boom, my grade school class held 43 students. During those years through the eighth grade, I was usually the smartest person in class or vied with John Emmanuel for that number one spot. But we all knew that John picked his nose and was nerdy. (This was before we realized that nerds would some day take over the world). Then I moved away, attended high school and soon found out that I was no longer the smartest girl around. I’m glad that I learned that lesson young.

But I also learned in high school that I could write. This was aided by a writing teacher who believed in me. His belief and my involvement in writing helped me get through four years that I didn’t enjoy much. His belief started me on my way and is why I mentor other writers.

Along the way, I’ve learned that being good at writing isn’t enough. Your writing needs to be outstanding, fresh, and true. Better than what passes for good, the best you can achieve. You need to learn so much about forging dazzling sentences and all the other levels of craft. And then there is the whole messy, time-consuming business end of things. Keep learning and striving. Never send out early drafts, never settle for less than your best. As Maya Angelou said, “I have to have my writing so polished that it doesn’t look polished at all.”

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