So yesterday I picked up my manuscript to do another round of edits.
It read like the day I accidently broke my mom’s favorite vase. Staring back at me was a gaping wound, a black hole if you will. A problem with my Main Character and the plot. How did I miss this? Why didn’t I see this with my other edits?
The only difference, I can fix this, the vase however….
I suppose that is why we do SO many edits and then some more. Now, it’s a huge re-write for me. It’s all a part of the learning curb, painful, but so it is.
One thing I do know and what I want to remind all of you of, is that this writing thing is hard work.
We who sit and dream and build worlds out of nothing are the makers of magic. But magic comes with a price. A price I know we are all willing to pay. We are the masters of our universe. We are the alchemists with the ability to tap blood from stones. The conjurers of great things.
I have always written. As a little girl, I would write small books and Photostat/copy them on my father’s Xerox, then hand them out to my friends at school. I would lose myself in worlds filled with unicorns and funny faeries. I spent hours in trees and gallivanting through the bush with my imaginary friends.
I probably would have grown more as a writer back then had it not been for a silly teacher and her hatred of me. You see, I have a learning disability. Back then that meant you were stupid and shunned, ignored, labeled. I was told I was unteachable and so never received the foundation most kids do when it comes to learning the basics such as grammar, sentence building etc., etc. I even experienced a period of hysterical deafness to block out her constant negative badgering.
So when, a few years back, I retired from nursing and decided to return to storytelling and writing I had to re-teach myself. Let me tell you this; it’s not easy to educate an upside down brain. To ask it to remember the basics of comma use and sentence structure. It is not as simple as buying a book on grammar and punctuation then reading it and, voila! You know everything there is to know.
No, it’s a hard slog.
It has taken me three years of writing every day to get to where I am now. And still, I have a far way to go.
Trying to reconfigure a brain which digests the information it is fed very differently from ‘the norm’ is no easy task — but it is do-able.
At first, I thought I had to follow the rules exactly to the point and if I could not or did not I would never be a writer. I was under the illusion, that to be a writer, I had to write in perfect prose. I had to be accepted by all, I had to be published, make money, win prizes….
Then I discovered a safe haven, a place where I could grow, learn and nurture this delicate gift. A writing forum like no other. But my baggage was dragged along with me. When I first used to post my work and a friendly writer would point out issues, I would feel so guilty for posting writing which contained errors or poorly constructed paragraphs. Then I realized that that was what I was there for. I did not have to feel guilty or stupid or inadequate.
Now, I live for reviews, because they are given with kindness, given in the form of a sturdy bricks with which I am building my writing skills.
I have since come to acknowledge there is SO much more to writing than I thought. Yes, without the technical stuff it does not always work, but just because I battle to get it right does not mean I am not a writer, does not mean I will never be published and does not mean I won’t be a success.
There are these awesome people who understand and love the technical stuff — editors. Their mystical wands of fixing up what needs fixing are fantastical. I love editors!
I now know that I do not have to squish myself into this box of ideals which determines whether you are a writer or not. No, I have never fit in any of the boxes constructed, nor do I want to. I have always enjoyed bending the rules. Twisting them to suit me, that’s what being creative is all about.
Basically, I want to remind all us writers, we are good enough.
Write, always write. Write when you don’t win the competition. Write more when someone turns your dream against you because they fail to see the beauty of your creation. Write when it hurts so much you fear your heart and brain will burst open and write again when you know you’ve got a good thing.
The forum (the online writer’s group) is the best thing that has ever happened to my writing. We, the every single one of us, the newbie and the magnificent, the procrastinator and the ever inspired are what make us all better writers.
A short while ago when I hit a bad low with my writing many writers rallied around me. It was good to know I was not alone — neither are you!
Thanks to a special writer who sent me this….