If I Didn’t Write Myself I Wouldn’t Know…

Here’s a little list that is swirling in my mind…

  1. If I didn’t write myself I wouldn’t know how critical positive feedback is to the life of a writer. This weekend I received emails from three different people in response to  a couple of different writing projects. One was from an editor who pushed me to write on a topic outside of my comfort zone. I was nervous submitting my work to her. I was thrilled to receive positive feedback from her. The other two were in response to a revision I made in one of the opening scenes of the YA novel I’m polishing. I’ve been trying to get this particular scene right for years. (Unfortunately I’m not exaggerating! It was one of the first scenes I wrote when starting this project back in 2010. Finally, finally, finally I think it’s closer to reading true.) If I didn’t write myself I wouldn’t know that sometimes positive feedback is enough; there doesn’t have to be a teaching point or a nudge during every single conference.
  2. If I didn’t write myself I wouldn’t know how hard it is to paragraph. Paragraphing is one of those things that looks straightforward and linear. However, if you spend much time writing, you soon realize there are about a million and one possible ways to paragraph. It’s not as simple as writing a topic sentence, three supporting sentences, and a closing sentence. In fact, I’m not sure I ever write five sentence paragraphs! I’m realizing paragraphing is one of the significant ways I revise.
  3. If I didn’t write myself I wouldn’t know sometimes you have to write nothing to get to something.  There are times, many more than I care to admit, when I have no clue what I’m writing or whether the words make sense. The writing seems meaningless. If I weren’t a writer I would simply quit. I’d give up and  spend my time doing something else. However, since I keep writing through the nonsense, I find on the other side is usually something quite good that I never would have found if I didn’t slog through the mess.

I’m pretty sure there is going to be more along these lines. I can’t wait to see where this thinking leads.

Working during writing group in fall 2011.