I found this in my Free Little Library the other day and it prompted a powerful lesson that I thought I’d share here as advice for writers. If you’re struggling to write and wondering if you’re any good, Snoopy has a lesson for you.
But first, when I saw this book, I was flabbergasted. How could someone give away a Peanuts book, especially one that looked like it was from the early years? Surely it would be a classic collection!
With fond memories of being a kid, chuckling along to a paperback full of Snoopy and Charlie Brown’s adventures, I snatched this book out of the library and settled down to have some fun.
Sure the artwork was unpolished and Snoopy barely looked like Snoopy, but the stories were…also kind of lame.
One page consists of Snoopy rolling something to the kids’ feet, them all looking at it, and the line “water bowl”.
Snoopy is kind of angry.
Charlie Brown’s a bit of a jerk.
Start, Create, Fail, Improve
Still, some of the cartoons in this 1955 collection were sweet or made me smile.
And, as we all know, The Peanuts gang hit a golden age that secured its place in pop culture, somewhere in the second decade of Charles Schultz’s daily practice of drawing, inking, lettering and publishing the stories.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Schultz was able to make art for 10 years before his project became really good. Am I’m sure there were some clunkers after 1960, too.
But he kept producing cartoons until the year he died: 2000.
Wait For It
Your writing doesn’t have to be brilliant right now, or all the time.
In fact, you must be willing to be good, bad or mediocre on any given day.
You can wait for the quality to arrive, but you must create a certain quantity of work to improve your chances that it will.
You can’t wait to write. You can wait for it to get good.
And, if you keep writing, it will.
I hear it over and over again from people who write a StoryADay in May or who keep showing up for their writing in the Superstars group, week after week, month after month: they figure out what works; they find their voice; they begin to write well.
There’s a reason I sign all my emails with “Keep writing”.
Be urgent about the quantity and patient about the quality.
But please…Keep writing,