The Evolution of Writerly Me

This morning I feel like a writer. 
I’m sitting in my office all bundled up in cute socks and a pink sweatshirt, my windows are open, my Berrylicious candle is burning and a steaming Sisters mug of peppermint tea with stevia and creamer sits to my left. I have The Final Move by Chris Rice playing on my iPhone, I can hear a steady background symphony of crickets and birds outside and the muted sounds of the day getting underway downstairs. 
I just finished ordering six new writing books that will hopefully help me up my craft and pull me to the next level. I had to wince when I thought of spending so much money at once, but it’s called investing in myself, right? So it will be worth it. 
I’m currently in the middle of reading another book about writing and how to edit before sending the book to the editor. I read this book back when I was 18 and I’m enjoying seeing my disgruntled comments in the margins. 
Really now? I hate it & I don’t understand, but will work on it. 
I don’t agree – duh!
I really don’t like this, but if it’s a must, I’ll work on it. 
I do have to say though: I made up my mind at that time to be a teachable little fledging writer and I stuck to that decision. 

My first editor (who I contracted to help me with a book I was self-publishing) will probably never have a clue how much grief I went through while learning from him. (He’s the one who recommended this book I’m reading and it’s no wonder! I was a clueless little person.) 
Every time I got my chapter-by-chapter edits back I would growl at the changes, arguing out loud about how my way was better and You most certainly can smile while talking! I would fuss and whine and stick my tongue out at the computer screen, then leave for a little bit. When I came back in I would re-read the edits in a much better mindset, thoughtfully mulling over what he had to say and coming to the conclusion that what he said did have merit. By the time I read the edits for the third time I would be singing his praise and dancing little jigs when I thought of how my book was being polished. 
There were always a fair amount of edits that I still disagreed with and would moan in pain as I faintly gave in and made them, He’s the editor, I’m the newbie writer. He knows better than me and besides, I’m paying him for this so I should really listen to him… It was difficult but taught me a lot about listening to someone who was more experienced in the field of writing. 
To this day there are still a few of those rules that I balk at and reject in my head, but mostly I’ve converted over. I see the point in why writers are supposed to use certain techniques and shun others. Nowadays when I read a (probably self-published) book that clearly disregards writing rules (and not in a cute “wow, they can pull that off” kind of way), I wonder if the author had a horrible editor, or if they were unteachable. 
And it makes me very happy for my editor. And very thankful for how much he taught me and how he was willing to break me into the world of edits even though it was probably a daunting task. 
(And, just so you know, you’re not supposed to start a sentence with the word “and”, but I regularly do it on my blog and quite unashamedly. I try not to in my books, though. Oh, and you’re not supposed to use very many “ly” words in a book like I did a moment ago when I said “regularly” and “unashamedly.” That’s something else that I try to steer clear of in my books but disregard entirely when I’m happily being writerly little me and blogging.) 
What about you? Can you relate to the whole “I used to totally disagree, but now I understand” feeling? 

3 thoughts on “The Evolution of Writerly Me

  1. David Mabe says:

    When we write something, in my case it's usually a song, we're putting a part of ourselves out for public viewing. Having an editor tell you what he/she finds wrong with your work and suggests how to make it better can feel like a personal attack. It's natural to be defensive. I remember when I was in creative writing in high school, I would dread getting back projects from my teacher because it would look like someone had bled all over them. My usual response (in my head) was “you just don't get it.” But she did. And her edits were valuable. I just, like most people, didn't like being criticized. She is still my favorite teacher and I learned such valuable lessons from her in learning to accept criticism and being objective. Have an awesome day, Aidyl!!


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