I'm a pretty firm believer that sometimes lessons go out of the way to beat you over the head - and when they do, you really ought to listen.
Yesterday, I was going through last Friday's Funds for Writers Small Markets (which if you don't receive regularly and are a writer - shame on you!), and Hope shared this lesson:
Most writers feel they need to publish whatever they finish. They couldn't be farther from the truth. Some writing is for practice only. If we published all our crap, our names
would be mud.
would be mud.
She shared through her life parable of losing one of her beloved chickens, but having to let the incident go. The fact it was told with animals stories should have been my first clue to pay attention.
Then today, I got the interview from Elissa Malcohn, one of my Blogathon sponsors, and here's a tidbit she said:
My personal mantra is, "Nothing is wasted." That covers a lot of ground. The years I spent not writing for submission benefit my writing now. So, too, my work in other artistic media and other activities, because everything nourishes everything else.
I also subscribe to the "love your crap" approach, because I write a lot of crap. I get frustrated and tear my hair out. But I also know that while I'm making myself bald, I'm heading in a direction I eventually want to go -- even if I learn that I have to change that direction completely.
Then, I was feeling lazy about my blog post today, so I figured I'd throw up an old short story I wrote about the rescue pony who taught me how to better communicate with equines (or at least witchy ponies), so I could get on with what I really wanted to do: write fiction!
Well, I had one reader look at the story a few years ago… and never made any changes… but even that reader (who a tough beta reader who I appreciate) was really kind.
It was a crappy story!
Needless to say, I'm not sharing that short story… and now I'm pretty loathe to throw up some of my other less-than-best fiction writing. I want to go back through my short stories, when I've finished with my Blogathon responsibilities, and start weeding out some of my "dead chickens" so I can be a better submitter of my short work.
That's not to say I didn't learn from writing all of those things. I have a blog post that I will be publishing about Epona that is much better written. In fact, I think my blogging voice is the better medium than the short story, anyway. Perhaps my lesson from them is to know to what medium they belong, or just that I'm not the proper writer for the story, or they were exercise to tone my brain for more effective writing.
Thank you Hope, for pointing out that it's ok to let some of these "chickens" go… and thanks, Elissa, for reminding me that deciding something really is crap is still a positive lesson.
And… if you want more great tidbits from writers, editors, and entrepreneurs, just wait till you see some of the other fabulous interviews I've got waiting for Saturday!