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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Put Your Feet Up

This week, I'm talking about things I do to keep myself motivated and enthusiastic during revisions. Based on your comments from yesterday's post, I think some of you are expecting a run down of my actual revision process. I apologize in advance, though. For now, I'm just going to discuss ways to keep focused, but in the near future, I will discuss the particulars. Okay, so that being said, the first thing I do when I get frustrated is to put my feet up and take a break. During this break, I remind myself that I have completed a novel. There are millions of people out there who want to write a novel, yet they never even attempt it. I can be proud of myself that I've already accomplished as much as I have. That in itself is a huge motivator to keep trudging along. The second thing I do during this break is to read some of my earliest writing. It is then that I can see how much I have improved. This always makes me smile and encourages me to keep pressing forward. So, what about you? Does reading your older writing motivate you? And for all of you who have actually started writing, give yourself a pat on the back. You've done more than many others can say they've done.

42 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

*Pat on the back* I've written some. I like reading the stories I jotted down when i was younger. I like to just push everything aside for just a lil & collect my thoughts so Im not so scattered everywhere. A glass of wine helps too to get the creative juices flowing. =)

Thanks for your comments too yesterday. Your such a delight each day. Thank you. *hugs*

Kristi Faith said...

*patting back* I finished a novel! :) Okay, now the hard part....yup, I take a break. I put it down for the day/week and then go back. And YES, reading my older work that is riddled with adverbs and long flowery sentences of description ...I realize I'm moving forward so I better keep it up!

Faith Imagined said...

I love your idea of reading your earliest writing! I'll have to start doing that!

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

My older writing motivates me as well. I see where I started years ago when I first started putting pen to paper. It shows me how mature my characters and stories have become as well as myself as a writer. It also reminds me all of all the reasons I started to write in the first place.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

It is encouraging to look back at older writing and see the improvements. I may have to rewrite the entire first half of my first WiP to bring it up to speed!

Rae said...

You should be very proud of yourself. Completing a novel is quite an accomplishment. I like Melanie's idea of a glass of wine. That should be a great motivator.

Paul Greci said...

I'm reading some of my early writing as I rewrite the first novel I wrote. It's an eye-opening experience.

destrella said...

Sometimes I call a friend and have them pat me on the back too, to keep me motivated. Thanks for the encouragement! :O)

Bane of Anubis said...

Reading older writing is useful motivation, but sometimes it's best just to kick back and do something else.

Megan Petty said...

I suppose I probably should read some of the stuff I've written before. I may have to dig some of it out to see how it compares to my current WIP.

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, I might die if I went back and read something I wrote a long time ago. That, or feel the intense need to edit it.

No, I relax, like you. Then I read a published book, which is motivation for me to do better when I sit down to write my own things. I analyze what I like and didn't like about the book, and try to do and not do those things in my writing.

Girl in My Own World said...

Thanks! I just patted myself on the back. :o) That felt good. Yes, reading my old writing motivates me a lot. I ask myself why I don't write more than I do and why I even ever doubt myself.

Carolyn V. said...

Oh, yes. Reading my older work makes me feel like I have moved forward with my writing. It also makes me cry a little from all the laughing I do because it is just so, so bad.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Absolutely it does! Especially when it's good (which happens sometimes). : )

Good luck on your revisions.

sanjeet said...

.I realize I'm moving forward so I better keep it up!

Work from home India

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I definitely take a break and I like Elana, I find reading published books helps get my mind off my own.

Nancy said...

Yes, reading older writing motivates me because if it stinks, I know I have done better work. If something old is good, I know that it is something I have worked a long time on to get it that way and that motivates me, too.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I don't often reread much of my earliest writing- most of it has been lost. But I do like to read things from a few years ago just to remind myself that I'm constantly improving.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Yes, it's great to go back and see how much I've improved. It's also fun to analyze how I could improve the older pieces and dream of them again.

Matthew Delman said...

I usually ignore my own work and either read stuff I have to beta or something published.

I don't go back to any old writing unless I'm reworking it into something new.

Robyn Campbell said...

Even reading my oldest draft of Seventy Two Hours thrills me. Because I think, "dang,I'm so much better." Maybe that's why I keep it around. *grin*

But like you Susan, I put my feet up and feel good about myself. I really did this. YEAH! And then I drift off to sleep, dreaming about the day an agent calls and says, "we love you baby!" :-) Great post.

Lily Robinson said...

Thanks. I needed that.

Jade said...

I did a post on this the other day. I opened up an old ms that I haven't touched in 4 months and I was totally impressed with how much I'd improved.
I mean, I sucked!

strugglingwriter said...

Those are some nice, um, shoes in that picture. lol

Reading older material I've written doesn't help me much. In fact, I think it sidetracks me. My only hope is to just work through the problem or start something new and return at a later time.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Oh thanks! I just patted myself on the back three times. Ha, ha!

I haven't read any of my older stuff lately. Although I was just cleaning out my files and came across a short story that I didn't even remember I'd written! Pathetic, I know! Now I'm wondering if I should read it. Hmmm...

Melissa said...

I'm still working on my first draft, but when I look at the first few chapters I can definitely see how I've improved. Really makes me feel better to see that I am going in the right direction.

Heather Sunseri said...

Oh, reading a good book always takes me away from the stresses of editing and it usually refreshes me and gives me a new outlook.

Dawn Simon said...

What a nice, positive post! Yes, looking at old work can be motivating. Running helps me burn off steam. So does eating. ;) Reading, hanging with my kids, goofing around with my husband--there are so many ways to get perspective on things.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Rereading always motivates me. I get excited. Not only because I come across the stuff I love, and because I'm reminded why I love the story, but because I get excited at the thought of fixing the material I don't like. Is that weird? Should editing be more of a chore? Hmmmm....

Leah Rubin said...

You darn well better pat yourself on the back for completing a novel! Holy smoke, that's HUGE! Most of us just muse about it, or start and stop, start and stop... You are really accomplished. I'm impressed-- you should be, too.

WhisperingWriter said...

Isn't it great when you finish a novel? I finished mine and now it's revise, revise, revise. And yes, I do read my old stuff and it's pretty bad. But it does make me feel better that I'm improving with age. Like wine.

Amy Tate said...

Yes! I sold my first story by going through some older work. Sometimes that file comes in handy.

Tara McClendon said...

When I need a break, I love to read books that inspire me. Harry Potter, Twilight, and others help me slip into another world and motivate me to create that in my own story.

Tamika: said...

*Huge pat on the back* Ouch!
No really, you made excellent points.

When the revising whip unleashes brutal slaps to my ego I will remember this post. I have an excellent memory like that.

Thanks Susan!

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I'd like to exchange links with you to help spread some traffic around between each other. Please let me know if this is possible. Until then, keep up the good work.

Jason
TheWISDOMWALL.com

Tabitha Bird said...

Great stuff.

Reading my earlier writing makes me shiver and wonder what I ever thought I was doing at my computer. I wonder if I will feel that way about what I am writing now some day. I hope not. But it is possible I guess. We grow. That is life. :)

Natalie said...

YES! I don't read too much of it though because it makes me cringe. :)

Kelly L said...

Great idea!

Love to you
Kelly

Erica said...

Yay for finishing a novel! Yeah I don't mind reading my old stuff, it is definitely motivation - I love to see how far I've come, and someday I'll probably be reading this MS and think the same thing :o)

Karen said...

A lot of times when I read things I wrote a long time ago, I find I'm surprised by it. The benefit of time and a bit of distance is that you can forget exactly how you worded a phrase or used a word and when I pick up some of my older stuff, I think, "Wow. I wrote that?"

But I also realize I've improved since then and that gets me motivated to pick up my work again.

Angie Muresan said...

I get embarrassed reading my earlier work. I cringe and am tempted to hide under the table.

Denise Burks said...

Angie! I feel the same way! I cringe. I still do it, though.

Am I a masochist?

Denise Burks

www.successinthesuburbs.blogspot.com
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