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I shouldn’t be proud of my writing, for I can always do better. Some tell me to always improve my writing, and to that I’d agree. For the writing I’ve done could have done with a polish, but am I seeing right?
My first draft looked at a little tatty, what’s new? But I was going to flag it. Never to submit the piece. So, I said to myself, leave that genre of writing alone. A day leaving it alone did wonders. I thought, try harder. To get it right I had to try harder. Think better. I did. And I think the piece looks better than before. In a few days, I can send it. A key to not surrendering, a key to not chucking in a piece, is to try harder. Then, do your best.
Writing is a catch-22, but I’m not talking ’bout the film or novel on which the film is based. Catch-22 is a novel and a film, but let me use the title’s meaning for the purposes of this post.
Writing on spec involves reading the writer’s guidelines of a newspaper or magazine, online or in print, and deciding to submit an article, poem, piece of art work, or story to that publication, according to their guidelines.
On the writing journey, there is at least one thing a writer can do to improve their work. It is to look closer at how they are putting something. Instinct to write is compelling, and then excitedly submit the work. The piece sounds okay or good, but look closer. Thinking twice can improve the piece no ends. Looking for ways to make the piece more interesting and compelling.
A few months ago I wrote several devotions. They were intended for a publication I had in mind. After I wrote them, I waited. One may wait. How the writing sounds one moment may sound completely different two months later. Which means in two or three months (or a matter of weeks in other cases) that writing may be taken to the cleaners or it’s perfect as it is.
It is not an easy road getting published, but I had some good news about a month ago that a meditation I submitted to a journal is being seriously considered. It has passed the “first round” or phase one and is on the short list as it was. The outcome, I’ve been told, will take quite a while, which goes to show how rigorous getting selected for publication can be. Not easy. Many other devotional pieces are in the same boat, but only a few survive.
While on the road of writing, if it’s full-time, part-time, casual, or as one can write in-between the necessities of life, sometimes there’s the urge to reach beyond the boundaries of one’s normal genres of writing. I’ve desired it and tried it, but tended to fall back on the predictable or the road well-travelled.
I was reading a book about screenwriting by Oscar winning screenwriters and in that book there’s one bit of content I remember well. American Beauty’s Alan Ball said he put off his writing project by cleaning his fridge. I know the feeling. One would sooner delay instead of dealing with the hard stuff.
Once one gets into the project and distraction becomes energy and activity, the challenge is getting it sounding right. There may be no right and wrong ways, but turning distraction into something which produces writing that’s at least readable are steps in the right direction.
There’s nothing like the feeling of relief when you know you’re done and dusted on something that had been following you around like an obsessive fan. But then you’re done with it–one can put that side of writing aside–and focus on what goes better. You juts know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that side of writing is not the way to go. So, out it goes, and in goes what’s going to work better. In fact, it’s so major that it’s sheer peace to know it’s over.
I love researching for the sake of it, to dwell on and absorb knowledge, but whenever a writer wants to apply research, one should know what it’s useful for before starting. Is it for a book? Is it to learn something to pass onto your readers? Pretty obvious stuff really. The trick is knowing why?
Maybe research for fun, full stop, no more than that. Become not a know-it-all, but useful in some regard that you never thought about before. Research for fun may come in handy somehow.
If there are different versions of the same scene, or they are written differently, one can see the differences between the versions and see which is best.
Takes time. Two projects in effect, taking time on them both. Rejections, had a couple, but their mist dissipates soon after. Successes, too, lifts one up. It’s not everything. Frank Sinatra sings. The sun still shines. Life can be fine.
Someone may think that a writer is avoiding writing by posting four or five continuous film reviews, but this week has been market research day as well, for possible future endeavours and projects. One does get a thrill from deciding what publishers may fit or not. At least its not on the other foot, the other foot being mine, where publishers dispense with a submission at will.
Devotion written this week; signed and sealed, but not delivered, yet.
This week writing has been writing a devotion based on old notes of my bible reading, a humor piece that I completed and submitted, and a significant revise of a poetry.
Patience and time is a key to working on pieces, though one may be tempted to get the work done fast, so one can move on to the next thing. No, don’t do that. A calm spirit is better. Patience and time gets things done better.
Revising a poetry this week; and revisiting a an article originated in 2010 and transformed into a humor piece that may suit a publisher I’m thinking of sending it to.
Was going to submit a certain free verse poetry, but wind up reserving it for another day. As well, working on a devotion on one day in the week after reading a passage in Genesis.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing a children’s short story, originally intended for a picture book. The inspiration was in a garden. I may approach publishers, but on speculation that they may or may not publish it. Of course there are the usual doubts that it won’t work for children, it’s too Watership-downish, although Watership Down was a goldmine in the end. If I go ahead with it is another thing. Judson Press have sent me a copy of the North American winter issue of The Secret Place which has one of my devotions in it. Whatever the season, be it winter or summer depending on the hemisphere, I’m pleased my article’s there. Winter or summer, but it will be mostly read in the North American winter.
A view to the positive while being realistic, a healthy balance, which can get out of whack.
Parts of the writer’s life are as follows: desire to write, research, writing, promotion of a book, and there may be others. Each part requires commitment, but it may be that a writer finds commitment easier in one part than another. For example, does one have enough sense of entitlement to promote one’s book? Is one committed to the promotion? I guess if there is any hint of reservation in any of these parts then it may be best not to do it and don’t waste a publisher’s or your own time. Sick to what one is committed to and work the rest out from there.
Had aimed to submit to a publisher by the end of the month. But I was uncertain because of a previous rejection there. So am hanging up this poetry until another date and submit to a different publisher.
Was looking to submit a story, but on second thoughts, it’s more poetry in motion than fiction. Have two weeks before the deadline.
Have submitted today a long piece of poetry see how it goes hopeful.
It was going to be a work of longish fiction about 4000 words at least, but it turned out to sound better as poetry, free verse style. Wound up with 2000 word poetry instead. Have a month for it to settle before submitting. I call this “event”, in this writer’s calendar, fiction confusion, because it should have been fiction, but winds up as poetry with quite a bit of editing.
In a former post, I wrote about the many rejections I got from one publisher and coming to the end of it I stopped submitting.
There’s nothing wrong in being inspired to write, if one isn’t a working writer.
Being inspired to write can lead to being a working writer, but even if it did not, inspiration to write can be a strong motivator. As long as one checks their writing before sending it, and it fits in with the publisher’s requirements (research).
Contributing has the share of busy times and quieter moments as far as I know. There are also the times when a contributor may look for that next publication to contribute to, but it is slow in coming.
When I was twelve, I wrote a story called “The Drypton Dilemma”. There was no dilemma writing that story.
While I took a break from a rather tedious writing project that has a deadline none too soon, I read a few pages of the epic poem Inferno and saw the word, “Decurion”. I couldn’t find a definition for it, except on google. It’s an interesting word, but the definition is rather dull. However, a educational excursion.
This week: The beginning of the week started with a rejection slip. Enough said, but it started the week with a bang. Then, it got quiet because I’m in a phase of writing that is quietly pondering. So while I blog a film review, a poem here or there, other things are on my radar that I’m silently working on slowly but surely. The quiet voice of the “muse” as they call inspiration stirs in the sounds of silence.
Yesterday I wanted to try something different. I mean, in terms of submitting to a publisher who has accepted two but also rejected quite a few other submissions of mine. Trying something different was my Plan B.
Today I received a form rejection letter by email.