Thursday, December 13, 2007

Keep Reading!!

First off, it's good to be making a blog post after so long an absence!!

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Most of us became writers because we love to read. We have stories inside us that we want to share with others. Our own reading past influences our writing futures.

So we become writers. We spend a year, two years, three years, writing our piece. We care for it, we tend to it, we then rip it to shreds and edit it. We have others rip it to shreds. We become our harshest critic.

During all of this time, we still have the real world to deal with. We're writing, but we still have to exist in this world, too. We have jobs, families, errands to run, and leisure activities to enjoy.

It's easy to let some things slide, because we lead such a 'go-go-go' lifestyle!

I did that. The main thing I let slide - reading!

Yes, I know, it's a shock...not reading?! WHAT? Well, I have been writing my novel in earnest for about two years now. PRior to that I spent a year writing the novel and it's sequel for fun. Between researching, writing and harsh, evil edits, it's been a little over two years for Lisabeth now.

During those two years I've had one daughter face some serious health issues, I've become pregnant and had another baby girl, found out that my second daughter also had serious health issues, separated from my husband, gotten back together with my husband, had my oldest child go through two grades of school, nearly lost my house because of lack of funds, worked a part time job, started my own business, dealt with nearly daily therapies for both of my daughters, run to doctor's appointments on a bi-weekly basis, had health issues of my own, and become knee-deep in crafts of all kinds.

I've been busy.

Over the past six or eight months I've been editing. I've got folders of (somewhat) harsh critique on the novel on file. I have become my own worst critic, so determined to get my novel to an acceptable word count that I often find myself disgusted with my own writing. I see flaws where there aren't any in some cases. Opening my novel to edit has become a chore rather than a joy.

This past month I made a commitment, I agreed to review two books on my blog. I now HAD to read, when I'd managed to put it off as "frivolous" when I had things like Physical Therapy, specialist appointments to deal with.

I began reading with (unbeknownst to me) with the same harsh eye that I'd been using for my own piece. I saw some of the very flaws I'd been beating myself up over...in published novels!! Suddenly I relaxed. I read them for enjoyment. Were they flawed? Well sure, but I'd challenge anyone to read any novel and not find any flaws.

That's the beauty of it. I realized that my novel doesn't have to be totally free from flaws. It has to be crisp and clean, but perfect? No. I had crossed the line from constructive criticism of myself into the territory of being way too hard on the work. C/C is alright, as long as the beauty of the original piece isn't lost.

I'm going to keep reading, to keep reminding myself of this. That way I can open my novel to edit without hate in my eyes. And, perhaps, I can begin to get lost in others worlds again, not just my own.

2 comments:

Cat Muldoon said...

Perfection is impossible, and so much of fiction is the feel of it and whether or not the tale speaks to you. Yes, there can be "writing flaws" but most people are not reading a book critically.

Where there is no finish line, there is never one right way to do something.

I'm so glad you are lightening up on yourself!

So tell me...what helps you enjoy reading a book the most?

Warmly,

Cat

Cheryl said...

It's great to have you back Sadie. I've missed your words of wisdom. I am anxiously awaiting that email that says, "Lisabeth is under contract". I know you can do it.

Best of luck in 2008! May it be a good year for you and your novel.

Cheryl