Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why We Practice Our Writing

cohdra100_1413I mentioned last week that I was preparing two books to e-publish. I wrote one of the books three years ago. The other is a book I wrote five years ago.

The book that I wrote three years ago was definitely easier for me to edit. I did remove some ‘telling’ references and created a deeper POV for the story.

The book that I wrote five years ago? It’s taking me forever to edit it.

The problem with the book I wrote five years ago isn’t a mechanical problem or grammatical problem.

It’s definitely that it’s just not a very mature book. I’ll read along a little bit and think, “Why would this character do that?” or “Why did I spell out that this character was getting into their car and driving across town? Why not just start the scene across town?”

There’s something on every page that I’m deleting, adding, or completely rewording. The only thing that seems really solid is my voice. I’m thankful that’s intact or else I’d have to write the book over from scratch.

I’m lucky that I’ve got a few weeks where I’m not really under any pressing deadlines (except to read my pass pages for the next Memphis book…coming out in November.) So I think I’ll just spend some time updating this book and hopefully raising the writing bar to at least my current level of ability.

Sometimes I wonder if showing up every day to write is doing anything for me. Am I actually getting better?

But then, looking back over stuff I’ve written 3-5 years ago, there’s no question of the improvement. Every day you open up that laptop or notebook… matter what your goal is—a weekly goal, a monthly goal, whatever…you’re improving your craft.

Have you got any old manuscripts? Can you see a difference in your writing from long ago?