Last week, I was ready to make a lot of changes to my novel. Move it from a Minnesota setting to Colorado. Change it from focusing on a wolf hunt to the reintroduction of a single wolf. Essentially: scrap it all. I had reasons. I have a hard time placing the book in Minnesota because I am so immersed in Colorado. Plus, the politics of Minnesota's wolf hunt get complicated, and then complicate my book. And, I had this gut feeling...
Then I remembered that I would advise my clients to take a simple step before rewriting everything: Read what you wrote.
I printed the whole thing out, and it changed everything:
- First of all, it was so thick! Instead of feeling depressed about the changes to come, I felt awesome. I wrote a book!
- Second, when I started to read, I saw a lot of good and a lot to build on, whether it takes place in Minnesota or Colorado
- And third, I realized that my mind is tricky and unreliable. I was convinced that certain parts would seem silly. But when I read them? They had the most potential. The parts I thought I'd love were flat.
The big reminder? The way you feel about your writing is not an indication of its quality. The only way to know what you've written is to read your work, without judgment and before you throw it all away.
That can, of course, be so hard to remember. And figuring out how to see your work clearly can be a tricky transformation as a writer. If you're doubting what you've written, or ready to scrap it, don't. Condisder joining me for a free workshop first, on February 12th:
We'll meet by phone, so you can call from anywhere, and we'll be talking about how to approach your writing so that you finish what you start instead of throwing it all away.
There's no sales pitch and no hidden agenda. Just a chance for us to connect and for you to feel renewed when it comes to finishing what you start. Visit http://www.writingstrides.com/FinishWhatYouStart to sign up.
And as for all those changes to my book? They might still happen. But for now, I'm reading. I'll let you know how it goes.