Heather Havrilesky on writing

From Heather Havrilesky’s excellent newsletter “Ask Molly,” some thoughts on writing:

“One of the best qualities a writer can have is the conviction that not every thought that passes through her head is interesting or useful or entertaining or worthwhile. This is also a quality that makes it very difficult to write. If you return to the same default of questioning the value of your words… well, you have to be writing a lot of words to publish any of them. First drafts of useless bullshit tend to pile up on your desktop.”

“When your writing seems magnificent, you feel almost supernatural. When your writing seems pointless, you feel like a farm worker whose sleeves got caught in the threshing machine one day. Your hands are mangled and you can’t do your job and you definitely blame yourself, even though the social worker making wellness visits keeps insisting otherwise. She’s very nice and her zucchini bread is delicious but she doesn’t understand you. You have a head full of manual tasks and a heart full of harvests. Corn is ripening and then turning brown inside your limbs. There’s a full moon inside your skull, pressing on your forehead. But all you can do is sit in one place, staring at your hands.”

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