Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Don’t Throw Away Your Writing

by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

Peabody Award winner, Paul McCusker is a screenwriter (Beyond the Mask), scriptwriter, director of multiple award-winning audio dramatizations, Dove-nominated song writer, and author. If you’ve listened to Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, now in its 30th year, you are familiar with a quarter of a century of Paul McCusker’s excellent and prolific writing. 

Looking back, the multi-published, multi-genre writer recalls career-impacting advice he received from his high school gym teacher. Here is the story.

I could probably point to all the various pieces of advice most would-be writers get. 
  • “Write what you know.”  
  • “Write what you don’t know.”  
  • “Read, read, read all the best writing you can.” 

And so on.

But my mind goes back to a spring day when I was in Junior High School. I was dressed for gym class and we were all walking out to the athletic field for exercises and probably a game of soccer. I was walking with Mr. Morbeto, one of our instructors, who had taken a keen interest in my love of books and writing. I casually mentioned to him that I’d found a story I had written the year before, and that I was so disgusted by my work that I threw the story away. 

He suddenly stopped in his tracks and turned to face me, pointing a finger at my chest. “Don’t you ever throw away your writing. I don’t care how bad you think it is now, you keep it. One day it may inspire you to do something better.” And he turned and walked on.

I took his advice—and have the files and filing cabinets to prove it. And he was right. Not only have old, discarded drafts inspired me to new ideas, but they’ve also inspired me as I’ve seen how far I’ve come—and how far I have to go. To this day, whenever I speak to an audience of young would-be writers, I tell them what a wise gym teacher once told me. 

Don't Throw Away Your Writing! Best #Writing Advice EVER from @PeggySueWells on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Tropical island votary and history buff, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, Wells is the bestselling author of twenty-eight books including The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Optimistic dream-driver, PeggySue is named for the Buddy Holly song with the great drumbeat. At school author visits, she teaches students the secrets to writing, and speaks at events and conferences. Connect with her at www.PeggySueWells.com, on Facebook at PeggySue Wells, and Twitter @PeggySueWells. 


  1. If written from our heart, it all has great value. Sometimes that value is instantly derived. Other times, like a painting or automobile, it's value comes with time. Anyone with a '69 Chevelle or Cuda understands that. The idea may be great, but like the Edsel, our writing is often ahead of its time. Great lesson Ms. Peggy Sue. God's blessings ma'am.

  2. Excellent post and J.D. had some good thoughts to go with it.

  3. I am learning to keep all my stories and keep them for inspiration. :-)