Writing Tips

The Good, The Bad, and The Uglies

Some of you may not know that aside from writing and working, I raise rabbits. Yes, cute little rabbits that, no, don’t actually breed like rabbits. Raising rabbits is an ongoing process, like most hobbies, but unlike most hobbies, I can’t control much in the way of how they improve over time. It’s genetics, you see, and that can only be guessed at. No matter how much I groom a rabbit or teach them to pose correctly on the show table, I can’t change what they are.

In breeding rabbits, there is a Standard of Perfection (it’s really very similar to showing dogs) which we are striving for.

Toph during her Uglies, around 3 months old
Toph during her Uglies, around 3 months old

Development is an important stage to all rabbits, and all things. After a while, you learn to develop your eye. You learn this with writing too. You begin to see a difference between good writing and bad, and then you start seeing it in your own writing, which can be a blessing and a curse. The problem with your eye when it comes to rabbits is that their development has a mind of its own. What may look amazing at five weeks old turns into a mess at three months. The question is, do you give them some more time to develop or throw in the towel?

Probably if you’re reading this, you’re not one to throw in the towel. You’ve decided to see your development through and hope it takes you to bigger and better things. Maybe you’re in what we rabbit breeders refer to as “the Uglies.” It’s that stretch of time between when things looked good and when they will hopefully look good

Toph this past June, after she won 2nd Reserve in Show.
Toph this past June, after she won 2nd Reserve in Show.

again. How long that time period is varies from rabbit to rabbit, as it does from person to person. Sometimes the Uglies make you rethink your whole process. Sometimes rabbits never do come out of it and they’re sent off to a pet home.

The most important thing about the Uglies is that sometimes, with a little more time, something amazing will develop. The difference between rabbits and writing is that you can make it happen with writing. It’s not genetic. It comes from a desire to improve and get out of that uncomfortable middle stage to come out better on the other side.

Improvement takes time, and you might go through some bad phases before you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just remember that we all go through Uglies and we usually make it out alive.

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