Friday, March 13, 2009

What Manuscripts Are Stashed In Your Drawer?

Electra inspired today's posting. She commented on Wednesday's All Those Lovely Blogs, saying she has been writing, aimlessly, for over twenty years. Ah, how well I understand, Electra.

It set me wondering about the rest of you. It makes sense that most of you are writers, otherwise why would you be interested in the specifics of a writer's blog? Are you hanging about because you hope a bit of the passion will rub off on you? Well, I think you already have the passion, but it simply needs re-kindling (pardon the pun).

Are you hiding secrets in your drawer, or locked somewhere on your hard drive? I have many manuscripts still tucked away: a couple of plays, several short stories, many poems, the first ten chapters of yet a third novel started some years ago. If I wanted to resurrect them, they would all have to be retyped, because they were done before I owned a computer. Yep, that long - even before I owned that first funny little Mac.

My sister began writing a novel years ago, and heaven only knows what happened to it, as she certainly didn't publish it. My friend up the street asked me to read a manuscript (from the 40s, we think), that turned up in some items he bought at a house sale. Someone's baby forgotten in a drawer.

When we are involved in the process, we become obsessed with our work, knowing we are writers and that we must express ourselves. We show the results of hours of work to close friends, family members, submit to a contest or a publisher. It's exciting for a while, and then...Life takes over. Our kids come first, husband looks bored, Mom hasn't been well, and we put our writing on the back burner. The little spark goes out. We will always be writers, yes? We can come back to our art whenever we like, can't we? And suddenly twenty years has passed. It happened to Electra. It happened to me.

So my plea to you today is for you to pull out all your writings (or - lucky you - open that Word file) and re-read each and every one. You'll probably get goose-bumps here and there at the sheer quality of the work. Did you really write that? How could you not do something with it?

I think that a lot of you are hanging around this blog sniffing the air, checking on whether you just might see something that stirs you to get back to the writing. I'm here to tell you to do it. I'm stirring you.

During the time I was painting, and not writing, I watched a lot of TV featuring interviews with writers, both famous and not so famous, who would tell the stories of their working days, where they found their muse, how they structured their days to write. I loved those programs, and sought them out, but they always left me feeling a bit sad, because I knew I could, with work and a certain amount of serendipity, be that published writer talking about MY passion. If I hadn't started my art blog, I wouldn't have gone back to my writing, I know. It stimulated the writer in me. It turned on the spark again.

I want you - those of you who are not writing - to stop and re-think the stuff in your drawer. Sit down and sort through it, decide what things can be re-worked, edited, re-vamped - because NOW you know how it should go; NOW you know why the protagonist must do the thing she will do; NOW you know why this time it will be perfect!

You comment and I love it, but I'm telling you to stop sniffing around and GET BACK TO IT! It's time.

And dear Electra kindly featured me on her own self-motivating blog. Thank you Electra. She's now in my sidebar, so I can keep an eye on her. See Electra-Roughdraft.Blogspot.

Okay, what are you waiting for? Go open that drawer!

Oh, but please still squeeze in a moment to keep commenting here. I need that.


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Quotes to Consider

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin

"Well behaved women rarely make history."~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”~William G.T. Shedd (1820-1894), theologian, teacher, pastor

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." ~Franklin D Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd U.S. president

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), essayist, poet, philosopher

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
~ Wayne Gretzky