Monday, April 11, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays - The Journey

Each writer has their own way of approaching writing. Some write the entire manuscript before returning to the beginning just to start  it all over again. Some edit as they go. I tend to be in the second group of writers.
Every day, as I sit down to add to whichever project I am working on, I start by rereading what is already there to put myself back in the moment I left off in. This is where I tend to find things that require changing. All of the extra commas come out, the tense changes, odd phrasing or head hopping. This isn’t to say I am able to catch all of the strange little foibles that fill my writing. That is where a great writing buddy comes in.
My fellow Wenches keep my writing in line and push me to finish when I falter. My husband (who is not a reader at all) gets treated to excerpts which require a male point of view and as an added bonus, reading these bits out loud usually helps me to find the places that stumble in my writing. I highly recommend reading your work aloud, even if it is only to the family pet or an empty room. You’ll find and rectify the things your mind autocorrects as you read in your head.
 I guess what I’m trying to tell you in my roundabout way is that the writing may be a solitary journey, but the rewrites do not have to be and should not be done alone. When you are the only one reading and reviewing your work, the view can tend to become myopic. So, whether you are part of the first group, who creates the full manuscript before doing any rereading, or the second group, find yourself some people you can trust to tell you the truth. As nice as it is to hear that each word from your pen is solid gold, it is far more helpful to have someone point out where the work stumbles.
If there is no one in your life to tell you when you are abusing your right to use commas, you can do as I did and join a writers group. For myself, there was nothing available to me locally so I turned to the internet. A group called became my home away from home. It is also the place I met my fellow Wenches. The feedback and the lessons I learned there are what brought my writing to the level where it could become published. This doesn’t mean I write flawlessly the first time, every time, far from it. But a writers group is a wonderful place to test your wings and explore new writing genres.
Try to toughen your skin and be open to helpful advice. It’s easy to become offended by someone who is telling you that your perfect brain child suffers from some bad habits. Take a deep breath and don’t respond right away. Give the advice a chance to settle and see if it is something that really will improve your work. You may not always agree, but more often than not, the new set of eyes see a lot more clearly than your love blinded ones.
Just remember, you may take the first steps alone in the caverns of your imagination, but you will find tremendous joy when you retrace those step and shine light on them with someone you trust. Someone who will lovingly help you polish the images you have created to perfection.
Rain :)


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