Spring Cleaning

Today is the first day of spring. Yay! Finally, warmer weather, no snow to shovel, flowers growing, birds singing…

Okay, it’s not all flowers and birds. Or warm weather. It’s still closer to freezing than wamth most days, but we’re getting there.

But spring evokes thoughts of cleaning out the cobwebs that have sprung up in not only our homes, but our bodies and minds as well. It’s time for walks outside, not huddling under the covers.

To that end, I have spent the last few days going through old paper files in my office. Boxes and boxes of them. Files that contain all the submissions I’ve ever made – and their rejections (way too many of those) as well as their acceptances and contracts (more than a few, but less than a lot). It’s rather interesting going through those things. As I look at the old manuscripts I submitted vs. the newer ones that garnered contracts, I can see why they were rejected. I have learned a lot over the years about writing.

But I also lost something in the process, I believe. I now know the rules of writing and (mostly) follow them. I have pared down my points of view, tightened my writing, cleaned up problems. But in doing so, I lost the fun of writing. Yes, my technique is better, but I believe my creativity was better before I knew all the rules.

Which brings me to the story I’m currently working on. I’ve been trying so hard to make this a viable story, that it’s become less than what I think it can be. So I’m going to do some spring cleaning. I’m going to go back to my story with a fresh perspective and forget about the rules and just write. I’m going to create my world. Populate it with interesting characters, and give them a situation to overcome.

I can always go back and edit. As another writer once said, “You can’t edit a blank page.” So I’m going to start filling up those pages and see if I can’t find myself again. Wish me luck. 🙂

Vicky

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Retreat!

I recently spent four wonderful days with two friends in a quirky little house where we did little more than write. We occasionally ate or took a quick walk outside, but mostly, we wrote.

We do this two or three times a year (this year – we’ll do it three times) and we go from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning. Which means we get in two full days and two partial days to do nothing by concentrate on our writing.

In past years, I have used this time to finish stories, edit finished ones, or plan out new ones. This year I was in edit mode and discovered that the one fantasy story I was working on needed to be expanded and broken up into three separate books. This is the book I plotted out last retreat – with brainstorming help from said friends.

For each of us, this time means something different as we all work on different things – but it is time we give ourselves over to our hearts. To create. To dream. To plot murders and fly with dragons. To battle supernatural beings, or become ones.

Here, we don’t have to worry about bills or kids or spouses or any of the mundanities of life. We get to spend time in our writing worlds and talk writing with other writers. We look forward to our little retreats – even doing countdowns and planning the next one before we’ve left the current one.

Our next one is in May…and I’m already counting down the time.