Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Posts tagged ‘improvement’

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise #IWSG

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Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. If we want to. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?’

 

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

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I’d love to share a story about when I surprised myself by perfectly writing a first draft – something lyrical and magical that flowed from my fingertips and required not a bit of editing. (Yeah, that would be a surprise, wouldn’t it?)

Instead, today I write of another type of surprise. But, it turns out not to be as bad as I initially thought.

A few weeks ago, I submitted a query about a guest post for another author’s blog – an author I respect greatly and look up to as a role model. She accepted the proposed blog (Yay!) and proceeded to ask a question about a particular magazine that I’d been published in. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call it Magazine XYZ. She was considering submitting a piece to them and was curious about how they were to work with.

I pulled out my spreadsheet and checked dates. I replied with the dates I submitted the article, when it was accepted, and when I was paid. There wasn’t any back and forth about the piece. It was a simple acceptance, I cashed the check and was happy. All was easy and effortless.

And then the next question appeared in my inbox. How much did they edit what I’d sent?

Hmmmm – good question. I had no idea.

When I first started my writing career, I often compared what I sent with the final product. I wanted to see where edits had been made and how they improved the story. It gave me a good feel for weak points I could improve upon and ways to strengthen future stories.

Several years earlier, what prompted me to compare versions was when I read a short children’s story and I knew that I hadn’t written those particular words. When the story posted, I went to read it, anxious to see my work online. I forget the short phrase that was used, but it was something so foreign to me I knew I’d never even thought this particular phrase, let alone wrote it. Sure enough, a whole paragraph had been added – all completely new with not a spec of my own words in it. But, that was okay. I still happily transferred the small amount of money that appeared in my PayPal account and went on writing.

Now, curious about Magazine XYZ, I pulled out my complimentary print copy and reread the final product. All appeared well. Nothing seemed too foreign or out of place.

Then…I opened up the document I’d submitted to the Editor. Expecting to find some minor changes, words added or words deleted, I felt very confused as I began reading the original copy. Nothing was matching up. Oh, some paragraphs and wording was the same but was in nowhere near the same order it had been sent. Huge major portions appeared in the final cut that didn’t show up anywhere on my submitted piece. It was familiar copy to me. It didn’t seem out of place. It turned out the additional information on the subject was taken from my blog.

Looking at the two side by side, I barely recognized the published article as what I’d sent.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The final article was far superior to what I’d sent. In fact, when I looked at what I’d so proudly sent off, I cringed in embarrassment. When I examined what I wrote, I shook my head in amazement – or should I say surprise?

I’m happy they did such an intensive editing job on that particular article. There is no argument whatsoever that what they printed was a top-notch quality product. It was far better than the words I’d labored over for so many days.

I had two surprises that day. The first was my astonishment when I realized the extensive amount of editing that had happened. And while I won’t be showing anyone the original piece, I’m happy to say that the second surprise was realizing how much my writing has improved in the last two years. No, I’m still not capable of writing that elusive, perfect first draft. There’s still a lot of room to learn and improve more. But for today, while honoring the insecure writer in myself, I will embrace the recognition that my craft is improving. I’m better than I was yesterday. I’m better than I was last week. And, I’m certainly better than I was two years ago!

 

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

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A to Z: ‘I’ is for IMPROVEMENT

It’s April! That means it’s time for the ‘BLOGGING A to Z CHALLENGE’. Everyday this month (except Sunday) bloggers will be blogging to a theme, using different letter of the alphabet – running, of course, from A to Z.

I’m blogging about WRITER’S ZEN: Where writing and meditation meet.

Meditation and positive affirmations can directly benefit our lives in many aspects. It also can benefit our writing — in the creative aspects, our productivity, our career as an author, our feelings about writing and much more. I’m making a conscious effort to make more time in my life for meditation. I’m also practicing using some of these techniques to improve my writing. Through the A to Z blog challenge, I’m sharing some of mine with you.

Read through the affirmations for each subject. Some will probably resonate with you better than others. Maybe all of them will. Maybe none of them will. We are all on our own paths, having diverse needs at different times. Even on our own individual journey, we still require different words and messages on different days.

Pick one or two thoughts that speak to you. Sit quietly for a few moments. Repeat the affirmations to yourself. Say them aloud. Reflect on how these thoughts affect your life and your writing. Are there roadblocks in your life that is stopping the goodness from entering? Are we in any way allowing this roadblock to exist? Are we putting it there ourselves? Open your mind to allowing new possibilities to present themselves.

If a phrase feels more needed, copy it onto an index card or post-it note. Keep it with you, in the car, or on the computer. Repeat throughout the day, reinforcing the message.

Give it a try! Let me know if these help your writing, or if you have any thoughts on affirmations that would be useful to use in your daily life.

Happy Writing!

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A to Z: ‘I’ is for IMPROVEMENT

My writing improves every day.

My writing improves word by word, paragraph by paragraph, page by page.

I read and I learn.

I see what I like. I see what works.

The lessons I learn while reading make me a better writer.

I hone and polish my craft.

I learn and grow as a writer and author.

Step by step – word by word – my writing improves.

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