My Writing Compost Heap

It was the author Neil Gaiman on Masterclass who introduced the idea of a writer’s compost to me. In order to get better at sometime you have to spend time doing that thing. I just makes sense. If I want to be a better swimmer, I have to get in the water and swim. If I want to become a better cook, I need to cook. If I want to become a better writer I have to write. Of course, how you practice matters. I think this is one reason the whole 10,000 hours thing gets so much criticism. But logical says, if I spend 10,000 hours of writing, I should be a better writer than when I started. And so I write, and push myself to write everyday. And I push myself to write when I have thoughts alive in my mind. And I push myself to put words to describing what I see or hear. I try to capture a snapshots with words.

Some of the things I write, I never finish. Some of the things I write are so messy they’re just not gallery ready, but that doesn’t mean they lack value and purpose.

Chuck Jones said that “Every artist has a thousands of bad drawings in them and the only way to get rid of them is to draw them out.” And so to develop any skill, you must be willing to tolerate the mistakes and the failures and the “not quite yets.” Those things that your create that should be tossed on the compost heap.

Every artist has thousands of bad drawings in them and the only way to get rid of them is to draw them out.

― Chuck Jones

A compost heap is where you toss your scraps, not because they are worthless, but because you know that through the decomposition of them, they will produce a rich fertilizer that promotes growth.

And so I am adding a new category to my writing blog, the Compost Heap. This is where I will dump and toss out those writings that I work on that are simply scraps. I don’t anticipate that their value will be to anyone but myself.

Also, this idea of a compost gave me another insight. I only count my “hours” for writing on the pieces that I publish on this blog, when in reality I spend much more time thoughtfully writing pieces that I never publish. Shouldn’t all the time I spent writing meaningfully count towards my 10,000 hours goal, rather than only counting the hours and minutes of those few pieces that I publish?

January 22, 2020

Time spent writing this piece: 30 minutes

Total time spent writing on the blog: 174 hours