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A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie
A Year of Writing Dangerously : One of the Worst Things a Writer Can Do

A Year of Writing Dangerously (Day 195)

One of the Worst Things a Writer Can Do

By Barbara Abercrombie

"When it's finally in print, you're delivered — you don't ever have to look at it again. It's too late to worry about its failings." — Eudora Welty

Here's something you want to think twice about: throwing away your essay or fiction or memoir because you hate it. You can hide it from view on your computer, stash a hard copy in a closet — but don't destroy it. Because sometimes it's simply impossible to judge your own work. Sometimes all you need is time. The wastepaper basket is not always a writer's best friend.

John Banville, author of thirteen much-acclaimed books, was asked in an interview if he likes his books, and he replied: "No, I hate them all. With a deep, abiding hatred. And embarrassment. I have a fantasy that I'm walking past Brentano's or wherever and I click my fingers and all my books on the shelves go blank. The covers are still there but all the pages are blank. And then I can start again and get it right." (This is the same John Banville who won the Booker Prize, was shortlisted again for the Booker, and won the Franz Kafka Prize and the Irish Book Award.) •

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Excerpted from A YEAR OF WRITING DANGEROUSLY: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement Copyright © 2012 by Barbara Abercrombie. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. or 800/972-6657 ext. 52.

Barbara AbercrombieBarbara Abercrombie teaches in the writing program at UCLA Extension. The author of novels, children's books, and many essays and articles in national publications, her fourteenth book is "A Year of Writing Dangerously." More »