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Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Tricks

I put a picture of an old dog into my post because that's sometimes how I feel, like an old dog who can't learn any new tricks. I refuse to hop on the trend train and try to write a book that's the hot ticket at the moment. No, I keep plodding along with my chosen, favorite genre and hope it someday makes a comeback. And now I realize I'm straying from what I wanted to write about this evening.

Even if we don't pick up a new trick every so often, I do believe that most of us continue to learn, no matter how old we are. Me, for example. I'm still learning about life in general and human nature, and about writing. The day I stop learning, I think I'll probably grow bored with it.

My word output for the day has been pitiful, so far. Only about 150 words today, compared to yesterday's 2,200. But I hope to make up for lost time later tonight. It feels good to be writing again, and I'm slowly working past the "beginning a new manuscript" insanity and settling into my comfort zone.

Not many people know this but I'm just coming off a two year writing hiatus. There was just no way around it. With all the things I had going on in my personal life, writing had to take a back seat. Now I'm back at it and even though it took some doing to get all the rust out of all the cogs and gears, it was worth the pain and effort.

Back to the learning thing... After a distance of two years, I've discovered some amazing things. When I look at my past writing, I can see things I couldn't at the time. Now I know what that big-name editor meant when she told me, my narrative style was a little strange in certain paggages. At the time, I wondered what the heck she was talking about. Now, I see it! Probably the biggest reason I can see it is because my style has evolved, and so those "strange" passages jump out. And I think we all are constantly evolving. I just hope my next step in the learning process doesn't require a two-year hiatus. Winky

What about you? Do you look back on old manuscripts and say, "My, God, what was I thinking!"

Devon

2 comments:

  1. Oh absolutely. When I decided a couple of years ago to finally put my butt in the chair and give my writing more attention, I pulled out ALL my old "beginnings" and went through each and every one.

    I salvaged my first novel and one other idea and actually wrote them, but I felt like a dolt over the rest because my writing has changed so much in the 10 or 11 years since I'd put them away.

    Most of it, I started writing when I was somewhere around 15 or so and it sounded so childish and immature. In fact, I've got 7 ideas that I'm still keeping on the back burner because they fall into the Y/A genre and my brain can no longer wrap around writing from the standpoint of a very young innocent girl. Maybe someday, but not now.

    All the ones I've worked on since though, besides my first two, have been new ideas and I feel my writing has grown stronger since the first one, most especially. I've even gone back and redone it because, though I was proud I finally finished it, I knew it was falling apart.

    What I'd started all those years ago was written a lot differently than how I finished it after all those years of it sitting, stewing and waiting for me to come back to it.

    I've grown a lot though since my youth and I don't "speak" with the same voice of the young girl I was. In fact, I think even in the past two years I've grown and learned a lot more about writing and it has changed how I write from how I did 5, 10, 15 years ago.

    I think sometimes its the best thing for writers to take that hiatus to reassess themselves. It took me ten years to do that, but had I written and submitted in my youth, I would've been turned down flat and probably would've given up my dream and my writing.

    Now I'm finding the joy of it again and realizing that all those years were giving me time to grow up and shape my writing into something I could truly be proud of.

    I have always believe things happen for a reason though, so maybe all that time it took for me to get back to writing was actually much needed growth in my own person.

    Way to go on the high word count the other day! Did you get much else written after that? I'm struggling through the last of my current. The other day all I eeked out was 25 words. I hung my head in shame and took a few days away from writing.

    I need to work on it tonight before I head to bed. Keep me updated on how you're doing with it.

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  2. Taryn, I know I've told you this before, but I'm gonna say it again. You have the heart and soul of a writer. I hope you do well in this business. I'd love to see you do well.

    Okay. I just had to say that.

    You know, it sounds like we're a lot alike (except you can pump out books way faster that I can. :o) I've been writing most of my life, or at least since I learned how to put the words onto paper. But I also went for long periods of time--years sometimes when I'd put the writing aside and indulge in something else, painting, sewing, or just whatever. But I always ended up coming back to writing. It wasn't until 12 years ago that I got serious about it. Before then, it was just something I did to entertain myself.

    And I have to say something else about the old manuscripts. I have boxes of them here, stuck back, some written more than 30 years ago. I've already decided. If I find out I'm gonna kick the bucket, the first thing I intend to do is take those old mss. out and burn them! No kidding, cause I'd be humiliated to death (or maybe after death) if anyone ever saw them. LOL!

    Now the good stuff, I'll keep. Maybe hubby will want to hang onto them after I'm gone. :o) I just looked over on my shelf and counted. I have exactly 12 mss. started, (these are the ones I consider the good stuff--at least, they might have some potential:o) tucked away in binders, lined up on a shelf.

    My new goal (battle) is to find the discipline to write again. I want to finish all the things I have started (and I ain't gettin' any younger). I'll keep you updated on my progress. :o)

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