8 In Writer's Life/ Thoughts & Observations

You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

Remember this ad?  When I was growing up (long before cigarette ads were a no-no) these ads were everywhere–which says way too much about my age.  🙂  Still, this particular bit of marketing genius has been stuck in my head this week.

You see, I finished the edits on my first manuscript.  Not a ginormous accomplishment from the fifty thousand foot view.  But from where I stand?  HUGE.

I won’t bore you with the details, but this baby’s been re-written four times:

  • My original, “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but hey, at least I’m trying,” version.
  • My second, “Oh, you mean I can’t change the character’s point of view in the middle of scene, and it needs to be less than a hundred thousand words?” version.
  • My third, “Hmm, so this is what it means to plot,” version.
  • And my final, “This baby’s hummin’ now,” version.

Ok, so maybe I’m the only one who thinks it’s hummin’ at this point.  But if there’s one thing I can say when I compare version one to version four?  You’ve come a long way, baby.  And, hopefully, I’ll be able to take everything I’ve learned into book two so I only have to write it twice.  (Definitely has to be twice, because version one’s already done.  LOL.)

Finishing the manuscript wasn’t the only event that gave me perspective on my progress as a writer in the last year and a half.  I also had the chance to work with another author who’s where I was about a year ago.  She was looking for a critique partner to bounce her writing off of and, even though I have two lovely partners in crime already, I told her I’d give it a shot.

The experience really fed me.  I had the opportunity to share with her some of the amazing tidbits of wisdome people have shared me.  And it brought into focus just how far I’ve come.

Am I setting the world on fire?  No, not yet anyway.  But I am growing. Constantly learning.

I think my pit bull mentality sometimes prevents me from seeing this.  I get so wrapped up in the task-du-jour and jumping on to whatever ritual comes after it that I fail to savor actual growth.  And that’s a habit I want to break.

What about you? Do you take time out between projects to pat yourself on the back and appreciate your progress?  What are some milestone “wins” you’ve had lately and how did you celebrate?.

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  • Reply
    Marianna Heusler
    September 18, 2013 at 11:59 am

    You are so right – I never stop to think of what I’ve accomplished. I am too busy thinking about whether or not my books and short stories are being accepted and appreciated, things I have no control over. I need to step back, as you suggested, and remember that I have come a long way.

  • Reply
    CJ Burright
    September 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I LOVE Cheryl Tiegs’s voluminous-legged pant suit! It’s like stylin’ PJs. And I suppose the fact I know who Cheryl Tiegs is dates me. Whatever. The simple fact you finished a book deserves a pat on the back. To reinvent it three more times, growing and learning and never giving up deserves a vacay somewhere tropical. You rock!

    • Reply
      September 19, 2013 at 5:25 am

      Somehow, I think those CPs of mine rock just as much if not more–considering they went through all 4 revisions with me. 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen McFarland
    September 19, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Yay Rhenna! This is wonderful news. I so understand and can identify with how you feel. I am right behind you. Doing re-write #3 at the moment as I re-plot my novel. That is really interesting that you did this on your third time through also. I guess I am more normal than I thought. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. 🙂

    • Reply
      September 19, 2013 at 5:25 am

      Oh, honey. We’re writers. We’re exempt from the normal category!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2013 at 6:22 am

    I had a piano teacher once who told me I went at playing like I was “killing snakes.”
    You’re definitely a snake killer in your approach to life. Keep kicking those asps. You’ll get there!

  • Reply
    Gretchen Wing
    September 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    This was just the reminder I needed on one of these What-the-hell-am-I-getting-accomplished-anyway?? days. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Shan Jeniah Burton
    September 28, 2013 at 2:28 am

    It’s serendipitous that I would read this deep in the midst of finishing up ROW80 goals, assessing past progress, and setting up a new set based on my WANA113 Big Life Goals.

    And I so know what you mean about the editing. I have four WIPs that are awaiting first edits, and two more about to be complete (and very convoluted!) rough drafts. None of them were plotted.

    OTOH, I have two MORE WIPs moving through their semi-plotted rough drafts. They will still be too long (I write long as a matter of course), but the difference I see already is amazing.

    I’ll be writing another WIP in November, and I’ve set aside October for planning it, to see what happens if I have a scene by scene sketched outline, going in.

    I do tend to celebrate even tiny victories. I have lots of techniques – from highlighting accomplished list goals in my favorite color and placing a jaunty little “Target attained!” after them, to watching something or going for a walk with the kids, to hot showers, hot coffee, and little songs and dances meant just for me.

    I also set myself up to celebrate often by splitting my goals into small steps, and having a lot going, because my mind works best with lots of options1

    I’m glad you’re taking the time to celebrate your huge accomplishment! WAHOO!!!!!

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