There are several distinct and actualizing benefits to writing lots and lots of shit. You learn to push through “writer’s block”, which for those who know me know that I don’t believe writer’s block exists. Also, you stress and pressure on most anything produces better results.
Lets get something out of the way right now. Attempting to publish shit is not what I’m suggesting. Writing is an art that requires practice and refinement. If you write a first draft, toss it out to the sharks, you’ve done nothing. Writing isn’t slapping together a first draft. A first draft is akin to a painter getting out their easel, dabbing the right color paint on their brush, and walking away. YOU STILL HAVE TO PAINT!
That said, great artisans don’t get that way by waiting for their muse. They get great by trying, practicing, and creating lots of shit before they get to where they want to go. They write shit after they get great. That’s the art of practice!
Next is stress and writing when you don’t want to. NaNoWriMo taught me several things. One is, writer’s block only exists in your head. It’s not a real condition. The only thing standing between you and the written word is your Internal Editor. Two, writing more, writing often, and writing whether it’s brilliant or not leads to better outcomes, more practice, and for some reason, your Muse comes out to play more often and with more vigor.
So, write. Write all the damn time. Write whether you’ve decided what you’re writing is shit or not. Because the more you listen to that Internal Editor telling you that you’re shit and your writing is shit, the less writing you will do and worse your writing will remain. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
People tell me that Stephen King writes a lot, and its mostly all shit. To that I say, “No. Stephen King published lots of shit.” Once you’ve written lots of shit, you have to edit lots of shit. If you’re not willing to edit, at least as often as you write, you’re going to be no better than before. All writing lots and often does is keep your brain and your Muse and your fingers working. It doesn’t edit your stuff for you. No amount of practice or research on writing is going to lead to first draft gold! First drafts are call such because, no matter how brilliant they are, they are still a DRAFT!