In January of every year, I look back on what I’ve accomplished or didn’t accomplish. I’ve had to force myself not to dwell on all the things I wanted to do but didn’t. But I do think about them and wonder why…
Mostly, it’s because I gave up at the first wrong turn. “Gwendolyn,” I say to myself, “That was an awesome idea!” Why didn’t you follow up on the critique from your writing group?
Sometimes it’s because another idea or opportunity popped up and I immediately switch gears. Sometimes it seems too hard. I doubt myself. My mind tells me “You can’t possibly write well enough to have it published. Or an editor replied with a discouraging rejection.
Then I notice a new book on the bookstore shelves about a similar subject. My heart dips. My brain sags. My husband has no sympathy. “You shouldn’t have given up,” he tells me. That’s not what I wanted to hear. But is very similar to the advice I’ve given to other writers. Find a new angle. Change your approach. There are tons of books on the market with similar themes and plots. Your job is to dig deep into yourself and find the book that only you can write and then write it from your heart.
Study the craft of writing. Join a critique group or form your own. And listen to your writing group. Try some of their ideas and think deeply about their thoughts as you revise. Think about them even when they seem to point you west and you’re determined to head east.
During those confusing times, I often board Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer and think and write as it travels through our Oklahoma landscape on its way to Fort Worth, Texas. The journey is never pointless because one of my daughters lives at the end of the track. If my revising needs a longer ride, I transfer to the Texas Eagle and chug-a-lug my way east to Longview where a niece awaits me.
|The Heartland Flyer|
Are there times your writing needs revising? Does it seem as if it’s heading north and it needs to head in the opposite direction? Try changing your environment. Even a different library or coffee shop can help clear your mind and your writing. I like to visit museums like the Museum of Osteology.
Find your best train for revising. Listen for the conductor’s announcement, “The revision train is now loading on Track SUCCESS!”
Posted by Gwendolyn Hooks