Saturday, September 11, 2021

Revision and re-vision . . .

Henry James (1843-1915), that influential writer and philosopher, distilled thinking about revision into one compelling statement that has echoed over and over again for writers. His words, "the act of revision, the act of seeing it again," take us down the rabbit path that mixes logic with intuition.

So many words have been written about how to revise. And yet, here I am, this early September morning, surrounded by printouts from my beta readers, ready to jump into my story once again -- to begin reading, with hopes to revise, and with no certain path ahead. My only hope and goal remains this month, while we're in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to perhaps finish this story and move to the next. 

The clearest guidelines I've found are with Reedsy's "How to Revise a Novel: 6 Steps to a Smooth Revision." And I have next to me my favorite books on writing and revision. 

This early morning is quiet. Truly, the time to begin is now.

"Morning" by Kim Dae Jung on Pixabay

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

September IWSG: Finding Success . . .

Welcome to September and the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Here's this month's writerly question:

September 1 question:  How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Whoa! This shoe doesn't fit. Yes, I'm thrilled when I spot my books anywhere, a bookstore, a friend's house, or a library. And I'm thrilled if I have something published -- a poem, a story, or a novel. And I'm relieved when the monthly book sales reach a certain point. I always feel a little embarrassed when someone compliments me on the writing.

Because, for me, being successful as a writer tags to something else entirely: Immersing myself in the craft of writing. Nearly every morning. When the story unfolds as fast as I can type. When I laugh with my characters or cry. When the words zing on the page. When the scene 'feels' finished, and the next story emerges.

Like right now, this moment, as I balance between final revisions on one project and the first draft of another. Yes, I can be insecure (and, in case you hadn't guessed, introverted). Success as a writer means bringing my stories to life in a way that reaches out and moves readers, perhaps enriching their lives -- even for a moment. Which means leaping out of my comfort zone to face down that other challenge -- reaching out to readers!

My question in return is: Given the pandemic and all that has changed, when was the last time you reached out to your readers? What did you do? What tips can you share? How does your relationship with your readers strengthen your writing?

What's next? Why not join this wonderful community of over 160 writers who care about the craft and who, like me, tackle each day with a weird mixture of doubt and courage. All you need to do is post your own thoughts about writing on your blog and then go to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Read posts from 10-12 participating writers. Maybe even start with this month's awesome co-hosts: Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

Above all, know that your words are appreciated, and, especially these days, your writerly gift is needed to comfort, heal, and sustain the rest of us.