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Monday, January 11, 2010

A Genuine Journal Entry

I was going to blog about the thing that's been niggling in my brain, but that can wait for another day. Instead, I found this journal entry from a little over a month ago. It's kind of raw, but I think it's, well.....real.


A bit depressed today,
about some of my writing.

I love when I open a file,
or read something over
and it's better than I remember.

I hate when I open something
and it is worse.

And the truth is...
it happens.

Time gives more perspective
than anything else.
Time is the most valuable
asset in writing.
Time to do it.
Time to forget about it and let it sit.

I am so grateful for
simmer time.

(The line breaks above are how I wrote it...below I switched to a paragraph format.)

Usually, if a piece of writing doesn't work, it is because the voice is not right. When I start to re-read anything I have written, I should hear the voice right away, in the first few lines. If I do not, and it is awkward and clunky, it is because, (most likely) it was the wrong voice through which to tell the story.

As a storyteller, I use many voices.

True for writing as well.

Each story has the way it wants to be told...I think.

Sometimes, though, I am wrong. And, well, I feel sorry for the story, stuck in the wrong voice. It's like when you're wearing an outfit that just really isn't you. Platform boots are somebody else. So is that polyester pantsuit in a nice shade of peach. And the blouse that fits tighter than is comfortable.

So there you have it.

That's what some of my journaling is like, when I have time to journal, that is! It is good to find entries like these to remind myself to be more grateful when the writing is going well.

It doesn't always.



Elana Johnson said...

This is so true!! I call it "stewage" time, but simmer works just as well. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oh my gosh, you just gave me a flash of insight when you said as a storyteller you use different voices. OF COURSE!!! Sorry for the shout, but, really, that is how we should approach the characters. They should sound different from each other and from us, the authors.
Sometimes I get the voice right off, no problem, but I know I've got characters that could use more defining speech.
Love your journal entry. Thanks!

Catherine Denton said...

Such an honest journal entry and one I can relate to. I love your bit about voice too. I think you're right, every story has a voice it must be told through.

Myrna Foster said...

I love reading stories where the voices are so distinctive I can hear their accents.

I have to let my writing sit for a while too; it helps me see where the problems spots are and how to fix or move them around.


Jackee said...

I agree about voice! I had to stew (not stow) a book for awhile because I felt the voice wasn't just right.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that does this!

Thanks for the post, Shelley.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This hits us all where we live, Shelley. I love the way you've processed through it for us. :-)

Casey McCormick said...

Love this, Shelley! I'm doing a study on voice for school and was just discussing the marvel that is creating a distinctive voice for each unique character. So interesting!

Hayley said...

This entry just rings true! Thanks for posting this, it just made me realize something about my WIP, and what I need to do to fix it. Thank You!

storyqueen said...

Elana-Stewage is good, but I still like nunchuckage better. Maybe that's what my writing needs, a good whacking with nunchucks.

Tricia-For me, I'm also referring to the voice of the story (one in particular) that rings false as I read over it. Not an easy fix, I'm afraid, like if the doctor knows what you don't have, (which is good) but not what you do have (which is not good.) so the cure is....???

Catherine-Thanks. I debated about posting it, for it is maybe a little whiny, but oh well.

Myrna-I knew I wasn't the only one. Luckily, I am patient enough to wait (the day job helps.)

Jackee-Sometimes, I stow the writing, too! Under the bed.

Shannon-Thank you:)

Casey-Thanks. And I have been devouring all the info on your blog much good stuff.

Hayley-I wish it helped me know how to fix it!

storyqueen said...
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storyqueen said...
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Lisa and Laura said...

My favorite lines:

As a storyteller, I use many voices.

True for writing as well.


Tess said...

I'd bet many writers journal in creative ways like that -- varying format. As if your journal is a novel itself.

And, I need simmer time as well. Wish I didn't have to use it so I could make the whole dang process faster but, oh well...

Dawn Simon said...

I love this post. It's so real, so honest. Like when you talk about opening a file and finding something is better than you remembered. I love it when that happens! *sigh* I feel so writerly on those days, so sure of myself. Then there are the days when I open a file and find the work is flat or awkward. Those are the tough ones. And time, our most precious resource, as writers and humans... You nailed a lot of good stuff in one journal entry.

Kim said...

love this post. love the honesty. love the message.

Paige Keiser said...

That happens to me about 99 percent of the time. And that one percent left over? That's the one I dummy up and send out.

Here this will cheer you up :-) Came across it by accident:

Amy Tate said...

Shelley you should tweek this some more and submit it to SCBWI for their Bulletin. I LOVE it.