Last night my teenager stayed up after midnight to complete the rough draft of a short story she had to write as a graded assignment. Her English teacher typically reads the assignments out loud, gets feedback (good or bad) from anyone who wants to offer it, and then gives the writer the option to own it, to admit out loud that they wrote it. My daughter thinks she isn't much of a writer, but whenever she doesn't have homework and is alone in her room, she spends her time either writing poems or drawing pictures. She is amazingly talented and very self-conscious at the same time.
Last night I strongly advised her several times over, every thirty minutes between 9:30 and 12:00, to write anything to finish the story. It's a rough draft not a final draft. But if she doesn't finish it, it's a guaranteed zero. I told her to write the story in plain words as if she were telling me or her brother how the story ends. At midnight, she finally agreed this was a sensible plan and just finished it without caring any more how perfect it was.
I can totally feel for her and am so proud of her for caring so much about the quality of her writing. My writing class resumes tonight. I don't have anything new to bring in except a poem about a story I haven't finished, which I think is kind of ironic but is the way I roll under pressure. Like my daughter, the pressure on me tonight is entirely self-imposed. I don't like the idea of bringing something to read in class that's half-done or not exactly up to par. So the class is good for me. It helps motivate me to do my best...but tonight I may have to survive with whatever I have handy.