1a: silly idle talk : DRIVEL
b: something insignificant or worthless : NONSENSE
that idea is pure twaddle
As a verb, prate, babble
“Twaddle” is a great word.
It’s fun to say. You can drop it into a conversation and sound excessively erudite, “Your argument is twaddle, Basil. Furthermore, it is dull, uninteresting twaddle and I’m tired of listening to your prate on.”
I started thinking about silly drivel and words without worth a few weeks ago during a writing slump I’m just now dragging myself up out of.
For a good few months, my own personal angel of negativity was shaking his bitchy little head saying, “no one cares” to every idea I thought of. Like the reverse of having a cool parrot hanging out on your shoulder.
That’s normal for many writer-types. Usually I can punch that bastard into submission.
But this time the little bastard sunk his claws in.
I had been reading a variety of writing tip posts and such over a few weeks (yeah, I know, another “but I’ll write something tomorrow” crutch). I think the accumulation of really good writing advice got me to overthinking.
Ironic, eh? Someone call Alanis Morissette.
Most advice includes an allowance for poor first drafts.
There’s a concept that I love, “the messy first draft” or “ugly first draft.” I can’t find the post I first found that in, I think it was something by Sonia Simone (who is awesome) on Copyblogger.com.
It’s something I practice, whether writing a draft in my head before I sit down to write or just getting down some words to edit or even delete later.
Underlying the idea of the “ugly first draft” or even journaling was this baseline vibe I kept getting from all the advice that all writing must be directed at an end.
You need to be writing something worthwhile for you audience.
Again, hard to argue with that — and it’s advice anyone who writes or is in marketing must follow to succeed.
Sadly, for me, this had the effect of stifling my writing.
Sometimes maybe you don’t have a good idea. Or you just need to write something. Anything.
Maybe (probably?) this is just me, but even in journaling I kept interpreting the advice as “you need to be doing some serious self-help with this or you’re just wasting your time.”
As I type this out, I’m thinking my interpretation wasn’t the intent of many of the excellent writers I read.
Still, I found myself holding myself back.
I think there’s time for self-indulgent twaddle for all of us.
Of course, not all the time. Should you write self-indulgent twaddle for your business? Well, duh, no. You might want to “clear your fingers” by writing absolute schlocky bullshit; delete that; then move on to producing something helpful.
For yourself or for a more personal blog? Methinks you should.
I’ve been an off and on again participant in Stream of Consciousness Saturday. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Linda G. Hill provides a prompt and then you write about whatever pops into your head. (It’s fun, give it a try.)
Some folks plan a bit. I do one of two things:
- Read the prompt on Friday and mull it over in the back of my mind for a general direction (or three) then usually forget about what I thought about and go to . . .
- Immediately start writing with the first thing that pops into my head.
Some of the results have been interesting and even borderline good (I like to think). Other times it’s just me talking to myself.
I’ve finally given myself permission to just do this.
It is “silly idle talk” more often than not.
Is it “worthless”? I don’t think so — at least anymore.
For me, I needed permission to just write some stuff to unstick myself from my drought. Not everything I write is going to be great. But every time I write, I get better at writing.
And THAT is an absolute good thing — not worthless or insignificant, even if I sometimes prate on like a braying mule.
And Alanis, aided by James Corden, updated Isn’t It Ironic for our times. She really does have a great voice.