I’ve been sorting through half-finished manuscripts stored on my laptop. And as many of you know, I’ve also been revamping stories whose rights have been returned to me.
These are older stories I wrote 5 or more years ago and revisiting them is teaching me a lot and hopefully making me a better writer too.
I’m learning that your older writing can make you cringe. It can force you to put your hand over your eyes and say did I really write like that and what possessed me to write a scene like that? I should have done this, and I should have done that.
Cringing aside, what it’s showing me is I’ve grown as a writer. I can be self critical. I can strive to do even better.
I can use older writing as an exercise to create stronger more vivid scenes, bring characters to life, and create more authentic sounding dialogue.
I can promise myself that I’ll do better on the next story I write.
So moral of this story, and the purpose of me sharing this with you is to encourage you to check out your older stories and use them as a way to gauge how far you’ve come and how much farther you still have to go to become the best writer you can possibly be.
Try it sometime and I think it will make you a stronger more confident writer.
If you’re thinking about taking this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge you might be interested in registering for the workshop I’m teaching for the Maryland Romance Writers…and no, it’s not just for authors who are planning to write a romance novel. I’ll share tips that will get you ready for when November 1st rolls around-
Maybe you’re thinking about self-publishing and not sure if it’s right for you then check out my workshop, So, You Want to Self-Publish Your Book offered through Outreach International.
Hope to see you in class.
In my last Ramblings I mentioned that I wanted to pen a post about writing through painful events in your life so here it is.
If you didn’t see last Friday’s Ramblings you won’t know that I recently learned that someone who was(and I should say, still is), very special to me, had passed away from cancer. It’s a man I had a long term relationship with and besides my dad, he’s been the most influential person in my life.
The news of his death shocked me and not just because he was still fairly young but it’s brought up lots of memories and feelings I hadn’t thought about or dealt with for a long time.
It’s sort of thrown me off track and my writing has been pushed to the back burner for a bit. I’m hoping it’s not going to be another long stretch of writer’s block so I’m trying all sorts of ways to avoid it.
That’s what made me think about writing this post. These kinds of events in life are unavoidable. We lose loved ones, we go through illness, and we face bumps in the road. So how can you handle it?
I’ve been trying a couple of things. First one is music. Not so long ago, I always wrote with music playing in the background but slowly got out of the habit but now I’m back with it. Headphones on listening to a selection of music I have stored through my Amazon account. The music seems to help me focus my attention away from the loss I’m feeling.
Journal…I have to admit I’ve never been one for keeping a journal but now it’s helping me write down my feelings, memories, and whatever my emotions are when I have the book open.
Turn the memories into stories. This is sort of related to the journal part. I’ve been taking out snippets of thoughts and figuring out how I can use them in future stories. One of the first books I read about writing was that being an author is a bit like opening a vein where you let all your experiences, secrets, whatever’s within you, out on the page. Some future character I create might have a thought about what I’m going through right now. I might even write a book where a character deals with a similar loss.
Bottom line is life isn’t all plain sailing so as authors let’s use our writing to heal and recover from whatever it throws at us.
A heart shape made out of paint splatters
I’m putting together ideas for workshops for 2018. I’d like to keep some old favorites but I’d also like to add some new topics and this is where you can help me.
What writing topics would you want to see offered in a workshop?
Would you like to see more beginning writing classes or advanced ones?
How about topics like getting motivated to write?
And finally, would you ever enroll in a summer boot camp where there’s an opportunity to write along with your fellow authors and have a weekly Skype meeting with them and the instructor?
I’d love to hear what you think so either leave a comment or drop me a line at email@example.com
Many thanks for your help.
It’s the last weekend of the challenge and then just three more days. The finish line’s insight and my tip for the day is the same advice I give to everyone whether you’re taking the challenge or just writing a novel.
Don’t give up.
Some days are hard but easy writing days where the words flow and you get into the zone are always around the corner. Remember those days when you want to quit.
Another busy day yesterday so I didn’t get time to post a tip. Today’s Thanksgiving in the US and that brings me to the tip of the day. It’s okay to take a day off from your writing schedule any day of the year, and yes, even during the challenge. Sometimes we authors did a break to recharge and refuel the muse.
It’s almost the homestretch. My tip for the day is just silence the inner critic, don’t second guess yourself about whether the story is good or bad, just write, just get it written.
My tip of the day is now that the weekend’s approaching maybe spend a few hours pre-paring meals for next week so when time’s tight you can write and not have to cook and wash dirty dishes.
If you’ve come this far in the challenge then my tip of the day is to reward yourself. It could be binge watching your favorite show once you’re done writing for the day. Or even enjoying some ice cream or in my case, today I’m indulging in chocolate, pear and ginger cake I made earlier today.
It’s the half way point. My tip today is even if things aren’t going that well and you’re starting to think about giving up, don’t. I like to think it’s all about getting to the 50,000 word mark more than creating a book. Even if you have to switch to another story but still hit that target, you’ve achieved a lot more than many writers do all year long.