it's a new year, a time when we think about new beginnings. so i thought i would talk about new beginnings and our stories.
it starts with an idea. we get excited. we write our first draft. we polish and polish and polish. we want it to be the best story it can be, especially if we're trying to sell our story to an agent or publisher.
so we send our stories out to beta readers and critique partners, etc. and they give us great feedback. and then we apply it to our story. and quite often, it makes it a better story.
but sometimes it doesn't.
sometimes, despite all the great ideas from our readers, the story gets lost. the heart of what we wanted to say gets buried in all the other stuff.
maybe this has happened to you. and maybe you decided you'd just leave it because your crit partners knew better than you what the story should be in order to sell it. maybe it didn't matter that the story you wanted to tell had been replaced with something else.
that's ok. i'm not criticizing that decision. we do what we have to do to reach our goals.
maybe you saw the story you wanted to tell get buried and you lost heart. and you stopped writing.
i know i did.
in my efforts to please my readers and my crit partners, i tried to make my story something it wasn't. and it turned into a story i didn't want to tell. it didn't sound like me. it sounded forced. it wasn't my voice.
so i stopped writing.
and then something happened. i moved to Montana. i started to rest. i missed my story. somewhere in there, i started to think about what i wanted to say. and i started over. almost completely from scratch.
i know it goes against writing wisdom. all that work and i started over. in the past it would have bothered me to write so many words and decide most of them had to go. but by then, i'd realized that writing was like compost. i was ok with starting over. it made more sense than trying to fix what i already had.
that doesn't mean i ditched all of it. there's still a lot that's from the last draft, and some that's from the stuff i wrote for my crit partners. all of it's coming together to make a story i love.
of course, there are moments when i think about readers. i worry about what they'll think. but then i push that aside, because i realize if i don't love it, they won't love it. and in the end, i'm the only one i have to please.
OR sometimes, you have to stop worrying about everyone else and be secure enough in your writing and in your story and just write it.
(to read more posts for insecure writers, you can go to Alex's blog.)