Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Writing 101: Starting Fresh

Writers pour their very souls onto the page. They sweat, they bleed, they cry, they laugh right out loud...they scare their family members, frankly. When you put all of that into your work, it's hard to take that work and destroy it. But sometimes, that's just what you've got to do. Starting fresh is scary, but sometimes that's the only option.

Starting Fresh

It's a New Year, and everyone's thinking about fresh starts. You know who doesn't like starting over from scratch? Writers. Nothing is more horrifying than a blank page. It sits there, and it stares at you...and it knows exactly where you are weakest. 

Erasing text is even more horrifying. Many writers will attempt to endlessly edit their past book projects, no matter how error-stuffed or poorly-written. A good idea is a good idea, and bad writing can always be fixed...right? 

No. Sometimes, starting fresh is your only option -- and incidentally, today is the perfect day to make that leap of faith in yourself.  

How to Do It

Lots of writers start out young. Personally, I began with short stories and poetry. Most of it is unreadable. But some of those early ideas are still good, even if I didn't have the skills to properly execute them back then. It's not at all unusual for a writer to grimace and groan when they go back and re-read something they wrote years ago. It's also not unusual for that same writer to look for ways to make it useable again. 

Sometimes, no amount of editing is going to help. If a story is good, and your characters are good and the idea is something you want to pursue, there's one thing you have to do first: erase. Get rid of all that bad text that's cramping your style. Editing isn't always the right answer if something's really out-of-whack. Just get rid of it, keep the ideas that were good to begin with, and start fresh with that blank page.

It's scary, but in a way it's also wonderful. It's a New Year, a new page, and anything is possible.

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  1. Well, I agree that it is SO hard to erase any words written! Especially if its a book thats basically done.
    Its hard enough to cut words when revising, let alone HUGE amounts of text!
    You spend so much time and effort trying to write what you want, only to go back and delete some!

    But I hope you have a fantastic NEW year!
    - Theresa Jones

  2. I hope you do, too! Thanks for your comment, as always.

  3. I wrote a good story once, but it was lost in a lot of rubbish words. I stripped the story bare and started again, and it worked out much better. It is hard, but there's no point flogging a dead story!

  4. That's exactly it, Annalisa. You summed it up perfectly.