How did I not see that? Especially since apparently I created it!

I still feel like  a new blogger. I just checked and my first post was May 19th, 2009. 8 months ago, yet I still struggle finding sufficient blog time . Blogging does a lot for my morale/inspiration/eagerness as a writer just by allowing me to connect with other writers. When days go by and I do not have a chance to stop and read any posts I feel the difference. Something that is so rewarding should be easy to fit into a schedule. The problem is that I am too greedy with my very limited writing time (and I am totally useless after 7 pm  now! 6 months tmr!! 🙂 ). Anyone else feel this way, and if so how do you manage it? Ok, not the being pregnant part, just the balancing part.

Well, this post was not meant to be a whiny one, but that thought has been in my mind for some time now.

I really had wanted to talk about a short story I wrote just under a year ago for a workshop. I liked it at the time, a lot. It was read by the group and given a small critique, not much work needed, and then I forgot about it untill Dec when I submitted to my writing group. I received a completely different set of feedback. Very interesting. I took some of it, applied it, made my story stronger, and disregarded some other feedback. Two point specifically: 1. where is your character growth? 2. what is your character’s motif? We don’t see it clearly, it’s too weak. Nah, this is just a snippet of life, I said. don’t want it, don’t need it.

I forgot about the story again untill last week. Re-read it, and poof, character growth and motivation appeared. In t his case it was guilt, and finally her ability to release it. Enough for a 2000 word literary short. But, what amazed me was how this aspect had been hiding in the story and I hadn’t even seen it! I spent the entire week re-writing this story, I thought it needed about an hour of work – was I wrong, and finally finished it. Amazing how things grow! Would I have seen this in my story if some members of my group had not asked me these questions? It made me really wonder how much more my subconscious knows that I do.

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29 thoughts on “How did I not see that? Especially since apparently I created it!

  1. I recently found a couple of stories I had written during a writing class a couple of years ago. Couldn’t believe what I had written. I seem to have grown so much since then and just like you say in your blog, taking on board useful advice from writing friends helped bring out the “true” story, the one hiding behind my clumsy first efforts.

    Best wishes
    M.

    1. Hi Maria! Thanks for stopping in and for the comment. You are right to say how much our writing grows over time. Looking back is always something. And having a good working group makes a big difference, at least it has for me. What’s interesting to me as well about my group is that none of us have lit major, and we are all from such diverse backgrounds.

  2. Hi! You are so right! Getting input from people who are sincerely trying to help you improve your writing is so critical–just as critical as our remaining open to that input.

    As you’ll see if you visit my blog, I gave my second novel to six beta readers, thinking I’d probably have some minor tweaking to do before submitting the work to the publisher. Instead, their input resulted in another month’s worth of work, including the addition of an entire chapter.

    And, like you, after I heard what they had to say, I wondered how I thought the story was ever going to work without the changes produced by their suggestions.

    Some people don’t want to go to the doctor because they’re afraid to find out if something is wrong. But the truth of the matter is that, even if something is wrong, the majority of problems can be fixed in this medical age, if they’re discovered early.

    The same is true with our writing. We need to have the courage to turn our work over to others for analysis, and then we need to be willing to listen, so we can fix any problems before we start putting the work in front of publishing professionals.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

    Cheri

    1. HI Cheri, and thanks for the comment! I think part of the courage we need as well when handing our work out for feedback is to trust ourselves to be able to incorporate and disregard as necessary. When I first starting writing I took all feedback and immediatly changed every point. I have learnt now to let it all sit for a while, and to see what sits with and what doesn’t, and then to make the appropriate edits. It’s all part of the learning process!

  3. You have so much meat in this short post, I’m not sure what to comment on! I’ll stick to balancing, since I blogged about that today as well.

    I’ve also cut back on blogging to ensure my fiction gets top priority. That’s one way to balance, blogging is fun, it helps further develop my voice, it connects me with the writing community. But Fiction comes first.

    I balance by using snippets of time. Granted, snippets are probably more readily available in the business world than in the parenting small children world, but there are nights I can’t sleep and five minutes spent on my blog settles my whirling brain, I can take a quick peek at others’ blogs and move my mind out of its ruts.

    I don’t know if you already do this, but when I get ideas for posts (usually in the shower), I write lists (I’m sure you take notes since all writers do), but then when I have one of those snippets, I start the post and keep it saved, adding to it. Then I only need a larger chunk of time to edit and proof. Hope that helps. 😉

    1. Cathryn, do you ever feel guilty if you don’t get to blogging? I do! Silly of me I think…
      I like your idea about jotting down my post ideas – you know it’s not something I have done, odd considering I take notes for all other aspects of writing.

      1. For awhile I felt guilty if I didn’t get to blogging, but I worked my way out of that by reminding myself how much more I love fiction.

  4. I’d been neglecting my blog for a while so I made it a sort of new year’s resolution to get back into regular blogging. You do notice that something is missing if you have been away for a while. For a start, you fall behind with everyone else’s news and progress updates. I didn’t know you were pregnant, for example. So congratulations!
    I count blogging as writing so I don’t feel as though I am sacrificing valuable writing time when I do it. I do feel guilty though when I spend hours on end reading other people’s blogs. I think the best way is perhaps to limit yourself to visiting three or four blogs a day. Over a week I’d easily be able to stop by all my bookmarked blogs at least once.
    As for your short story: feedback is definitely best when it comes in the form of questions. It lets your mind explore all the possibilities. Great that you have been able to use the feedback to rewrite and improve your story.

  5. I love it when you find things in your stories that you didn’t see there before – those hidden depths, foreshadowing that you somehow put in when you didn’t even know what was going to happen near the end, it’s all magic!

    I struggle to write in the evenings now as well, though I’m struggling in general with time right now and will no doubt continue to for the next…probably two years I guess!

    Good luck 🙂 Yay for reaching the 6 month mark too!

    1. Thanks JC!! Kind of scary – how can I be 24 weeks already! I suppose it being a third time moves differently with this pregnancy. Yes, two years is a good estimate for me as well. My first only began sleeping through the night at 5 (once he started K) and my second not so long ago….

  6. I don’t see how any author can write in solitude. I need critique groups just as much now as in the beginning. Sometimes I don’t want to listen, not ready, which is why it’s so critical for the person to write their suggestions. I’m not going to mind them until I’ve recovered from suggestion overload anyway.

    I was in a group once where one of the members never wrote his suggestions, he talked fast and long and likely had some great ideas, but I’ll never know.

    1. LOL, Tricia!
      We have a pretty good system I think. We send each other our feedback a few days before we meet, this way we have to chance to read over the notes before discussing. I have been to other groups where we just discuss on the spot and I find so much gets skipped over.

  7. Hi Jennifer,

    I think time is crucial in evaluating a story. When a writer looks back at a piece of writing after several months, they often notice things they overlooked the first time. Good luck with the story.

    btw – reached 46,000 words in the rewrite. Slow going, but it’s happening.

    1. Good for you, Lawrence! I think the edititng always feels slow…but it’s for such a good cause 🙂

      The problem with putting things away for a duration is that I get impatient and feel like I am wasting time. I was lucky with short as I had no plans for it. Then I saw a submission I thought it might for, so I dug it out. When I work on my novel I have to force myself to stop and take a break when I know it’s needed.

      1. I get nervous when I sense a block. I’m nearly at the 48,000 word point and am impatient to get further on in the story, but I know I must wait till tomorrow, otherwise the story will take on new problems.

  8. So often when I look back over something I’ve written I see things that I couldn’t see the first time around.

    I totally agree with you about how difficult it is to fit everything in. I’m off work, for the winter months at least, and still there are things I don’t end up accomplishing in the run of a day.

    I think you’re amazing to be able to fit any of this in with your little ones and another one on the way..

    1. Thank you Laura! I read your comment while running back home (I have it set so I get my e-mails on my phone now as I hardly get to chance to sit during the week) and it actually brought tears to my eyes. That’s when I knew it was time to slow down.

      1. MY goodness, thank you Laura! You certainly know how to flatter a girl. Lol. But it is really nice of you and Ev, especially when I’ve been kicking myself for not blogging more. I always think there will be time, and then….

        See, I need to take my own advice, thank you and keep quiet!!

  9. My scales are tipping–I’m definitely in a learning-how-to-rebalance-after-adding stage. I’m moving that little metal bar back and forth trying find the right amount of each thing. Right now I’m just doing the next thing rather than feeling in control. Maybe I can learn to like this feeling!

    1. “Right now I’m just doing the next thing rather than feeling in control” – that’s an interesting statement coming from you, Cynthia.
      it is tricky sometimes, watching our pieces grow and expand, and at times turning into something entirely new. I can only imagine how your studies at the moment are changing the way you see things.

  10. Congrats on having another story finished!

    “It made me really wonder how much more my subconscious knows that I do.”

    I know what you mean! My subconscious always sees more and sees further than I do–it’s eerie, isn’t it? I’ll wonder why on earth I’ve put something in, sure I’ll have to cut it, only to have it be _the_ pivotal moment, bit of information, etc . . . I love how the writing brain works, though I really have no idea _how_ it does.

    As for balance? I don’t know if it exists. 😉 Just keep somehow keep showing up.

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