Going back to move forward

As odd as it may sound, my next step forward will be a step backward. With the preparations for the holidays ahead, I know I won’t have much time for writing, but I’ll have time for reading and thinking. Luckily, that’s exactly what I need right now.

I’ve decided to make my first novel fit for reader consumption. I completed it ten years ago, put it away, and haven’t read it since. I scanned through it a few months ago, and even cleaned up the first chapter for submission to my critique group, but I haven’t read the synopsis or even the scene list/outline because I want to read the manuscript with fresh eyes.

I know the book is not horrible, but I don’t know how much work it will take to revise it for publication. This novel started as a paranormal romance, but about a third of the way through, I discovered it didn’t follow the prescribed formula for category Romance, and I scrapped that idea. Obviously, I was not a reader of Romance novels, paranormal or otherwise. What I read at that time was a lot of Stephen King, so …

In the last few months, my writing career has slipped into a sort of depression. It’s time to shake things up. I have other ideas, some plans. I’m not psychic, I can’t say what will work, what won’t, but I’m excited about the possibilities.

Your turn: How’s your writing career moving? Do you ever feel a need to shake things up?

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20 thoughts on “Going back to move forward

  1. Hi Linda,

    Love that you are going back to revisit a piece and see if you can make it work. I’ve found myself doing that a few times this year and finding useable nuggets. In terms of my writing, I feel like my focus and love of writing are finally back. I had several “a ha” moments and clicks in my head during a week-long writing conference I attended in July. Now I feel that love again for the craft that I hadn’t truly felt since college. For shake-ups, I definitely need that periodically and for 2011 am going to be focusing on my list of 12 commitments I made to embrace my writing life (includes more reading, work revisions and submissions).

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    1. I have a goal for that novel, Barbara, so making it publishing ready is a big challenge to myself. The work will be a nice change of pace, I think. I hope. 🙂

      I guess we have to accept that the tide of writing inspiration/motivation will ebb and flow. Good luck on your goals for 2011.

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  2. I read your blog November blog from last year, and thought it was current. I really cleaned the house, and that stirred up a lot of ideas! Maybe you just need a break? Cooking, cleaning and entertaining are logical break activities that make a body want to be alone with the computer again!

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    1. Take a break from the cleaning you mean, Mary Jean? I can’t do that because I’m determined to meet my NaHoCleMo goal this year. But it’s fine with me to keep my hands off the keyboard for a while, I need the time to think and plan.

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  3. Linda, I think this is a fantastic idea! I bet it will be exciting to polish up your old manuscript. The years of experience you’ve gained since writing it + a fully formed idea that you might see in a new light = AWESOME potential!

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  4. Good luck with reworking your first novel 🙂 I think it gives you a kind of feeling of completeness. I did the same for mine awhile back and while it won’t ever be published traditionally, it’s a story friends and family have enjoyed and that gives me great pleasure.

    I’m very much looking forward to launching into new novel territory after I finish this novella rewrite. I have a feeling that Delaney is going to be ‘the one’.

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  5. I’m thinking of shelving my first novel, waiting ten years, then pulling it out to make it publishable. No, I’m not making fun of you. I’m seriously tired of the thing and feeling like I need to move on to something else for a while.

    Lately, I’ve been floundering around. It’s not that I don’t have a project, it’s that I have too many. I can’t focus on one thing and do it well. I’m doing a lot of things somewhat poorly.

    Your plan is inspiring. You seem so disciplined with your craft. Can I be you when I grow up?

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    1. If you’re tired of it, V.V., then you DO need to move on, not for ten years, but a little while. 😉

      I do “a lot of things somewhat poorly” most of the time. 😦

      And I’m almost positive that “disciplined” is not a word EVER applied to me. I don’t even think I know the definition.

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  6. Linda! I know what you mean about taking a step back…or a leap. I’m sort of doing both. I’m going to leap from where I am working into teaching and writing freelance rather than work at the newspaper. There is nowhere to go there and it’s a lot of effort for little pay. I realized I had to make the shift, even if I’m sort of going a bit backward since the teaching is part time. Sometimes, I think making these leaps or shifts or changes are definitely necessary to shake things up.

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  7. Reading with fresh eyes is an eerie experience, and I can’t imagine ten years. Enjoy the process!

    My writing career seems to have accelerated recently, but I often feel the need to shake things up. 😉

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    1. I’ve scanned a bit more, and it was eerie. I winced a few times, but I also said wow a couple times. Weird to read lines you don’t recall writing.

      You’ve shaken it up quite a bit lately. You’re making me a little dizzy. 🙂

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  8. Good for you! I looked at my novice novel a few months back and realized how much I’ve grown as a writer in those years between drafting Novel #1 and now writing Novel #3. I’d love to hear more about your thoughts as you return to that first work. 10 years is a long time.

    As for me, I refuse to call writing anything more than a great hobby at the moment. But I reserve to right to change that status to career the day I am published.

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    1. Well, Trista, since this blog is about my writing journey, I expect you’ll hear more than you want about the revision process on this novel. 😉

      I used to call writing a hobby, but now that the word publishing enter my vocabulary, I can’t seem to backtrack. Though, to be honest, I vow almost daily to give up that plan. 😕

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