No, the title isn’t referring to time travel or Doctor Who (although I DO love that show :D ) In this case, I’m talking about the value I’ve learned in setting down a project for a while, and coming back to it with fresh eyes several weeks or even months later.
I’m sure a lot of writers have heard that before, I know I have, but recently I’ve discovered the true value in it. You see, back when I first started this blog, which was also when I first got the idea for Chronicles of the Sentinels, I set aside book 2 of The Sword of Dragons, Burning Skies. In fact my first blog post about Chronicles, here, was on June 14th, 2014.
Now I’m gearing up to write book 3 of the series, and to get myself motivated and back into the characters, I’ve gone back to re-read the first two novels. Little did I know how much work I would need to do on both of them, but especially book 2!
I’m only 80 pages in and the pages are covered in red ink! Why? Was I really such a horrible writer when I wrote and edited it at the beginning of 2014? Well, no, not exactly.
But for starters, having taken a step back, I’ve forgotten a lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ thoughts to each page, each character, each plot element. That means that when I read it now, I’m reading it more like any other reader would. And I’m finding the plot holes, and the sentences that don’t make sense.
That I believe is the true value in stepping away from your work as a writer, and perhaps in any artistic endeavor. You created the work, so you know what you intended it to be and to mean. But the reader doesn’t. The viewer of your art doesn’t. The audience of your music doesn’t.
So do yourself a favor and step back for a while. See your work as intended, through the eyes of an outside observer.
Never Stop Learning
I have also learned so, so much in the past seven months! In fact in taking stock of what I did in 2014, the second half was a year of incredible growth for me in writing.
The most important beginning for me was going to the Colorado Gold Writer’s Conference, for two reasons. First, I learned so much from the workshops and classes there!
Second, and I think this is the most important part: I started attending a writer’s critique group hosted by RMFW. And while I’ve only taken my own work to that group a couple of times, I’ve participated in as many of the meetings as I could. I’ve read other writers’ pages, critiqued them, and most importantly, heard others’ critiques.
So now, with all of that accumulated (and still accumulating) knowledge, I’m finding so many ways to improve book 2! When I’m done with it, I know it’ll be better than ever :)
I also realize that my journey in becoming a better writer has not ended and never, ever will. I’ve always believed that a person should never stop growing, never stop improving themselves. I want to make sure I always apply that philosophy to my writing, too. I can always outdo myself, all I have to do is try :)
The best part is that as long as I can do that, readers will always be able to expect each new story to be better than the last! :D
Thanks for reading!