Tip of the Day
May 23, 2022
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. ~Albert Einstein
Are you ready to stretch? Reach? Groan? Embrace the power of play?
This weekend, thanks to a travel snafu, I found myself alone. Three days to myself. Found time. Three days without distractions. Three days to focus. Three days to fill the well, too.
That found time translated into some really exciting epiphanies, one for a PB I have been grappling with for way too many years. The other for the YA I put in a drawer in 2014. And some great revisioning on the current WIP.
I also saw a great exhibit about Cezanne. It was exciting and validating to see the breadth of his work and read about the struggles he faced. (Yep, even the greatest artists have imposter syndrome!)
Friends, this weekend of found time reminded me that revision is a long game. That if that story is yours to tell, it will come. Maybe it will happen fast. But maybe you need to give it time.
A lot of time.
If you are like me, you love reading debut stories, since many of them are stories of determination, of years of work. Years. As in double digits.
But how often do we talk about that same struggle to find story once we are published?
Especially if you are like me, a writer who likes to work with many genres, you are going to continue to get NO's. You are going to create novels and picture books that do not find a home.
I am okay with that.
I want to continue to experiment, to reach for new stories, to stretch myself further, even if it means the story goes back in the drawer.
Having an epiphany--on your own or because of feedback--can be both exhilarating, frightening, and depressing. (My subconscious says: Really? You are going back to that?)
Sometimes, it is best to walk away.
But if a story is calling you, if you feel like you have found a story that needs to get out there, be patient. Be diligent. Play that long game.
Writing is a process of discovery, and you don’t always produce your best stuff when you first get started. So revision is a chance for you to look critically at what you have written to see:
Here is something I like to do when I figure out something new about something old:
- if it’s really worth saying,
- if it says what you wanted to say, and
- if a reader will understand what you’re saying
Start a new document.
Write down everything you love about that story.
Has the relevance of the story changed? Has the world changed in a way that might illuminate this story in a new way?
How has your audience changed?
When I am considering revising something old, I storyboard what I wrote, and then, with the "Annie Dillard SPEND IT" rule in place, story board the story I now want to write.
If it still excites you, WRITE IT.
If it doesn't...well....it might....one day.
And if it doesn't? That's okay. Write yourself a note about what that manuscript and story taught you about the craft of writing...and yourself. We grow by trying! Our understanding of story evolves with every WIP.
Have a great writing week!
Vaccinations have never been more important. Please protect yourself and those in your community by getting the jabs as soon as you can.