Just literally put two novels in the attic. And two more into the trash.
I’ve been talking with a friend of mine about the recent William Gibson interview in The Paris Review. Somehow that inspired us to discuss all the bad advice that’s out there for writers. All the methods and attitudes that contradict each other; all the tips that only work for certain people in certain situations; all the suggestions that are just downright bad. And we got to talking about The Temptation, the fantasy that if you just threw out all the work you’ve already done, all the novels and stories that didn’t work out, that you could liberate yourself from these failures we call warm-ups. And it’s OK for those things to be failures; it’s expected; it’s necessary. So I gave in to The Temptation. Granted, I didn’t go all out–I didn’t set every single notebook I’ve ever scribbled in on fire. I didn’t do that. Mine was more of a token gesture, a symbolic act. But it’s done. I did it.
Smash your bad ideas!