Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The "Golden Rules"

I wanted to write this to you because I have been wanting to write this for several months now but I didn't know how best to word it so as to get my point across clearly:

The major reason I have not been posting here more often than I have is because I was specifically avoiding writing advice. Before you balk, let me explain:

Advice, planning, research - all these are great things in moderation; there comes a point with all of these things where you really have to draw the line or else you start backsliding. It's not so much that I burned-out on writing advice as it is that I got to a point where I was literally unable to write anything because I was consumed with "Golden Rules." Even when I did manage to get something legible down on paper that I was pleased with enough to send out into The Real World, I would screw it up by editing it way past the bone.

I learned probably the hardest lesson of my writing life when I wrote what is - to this day (in my mind, at least) - the best first chapter of anything, ever (that I've ever written, I mean), and then proceeded to edit it until it sucked. With a side of suck.

I worked it and reworked it and worded and reworded and moved sentences and clipped paragraphs and the whole nine... and by the end of the whole thing, it sucked. It lost its voice, its tone, its mood, its atmosphere; I had literally and completely ruined my perfect opening chapter and I literally and truly cried tears of shame.

So, about a year ago, I set aside all my writing advice books (scores of them) and began filing my Writer's Digest magazines as they came in without even opening them, and took a vacation from writing advice altogether. Except that I had already started this wonderful blog! So I was in a quandary.

Now though, upon reading the stuff I was writing a year ago compared to the stuff I churn out now, I've decided to pull out the WDs I've overlooked and get back into the swing of things. It isn't that what I'm writing now is so bad, I just know that it could be better and the stuff I was writing a year ago had more power and punch. So, I'm hoping to get back into things and bring that power into the voice I've developed this past year which, away from so many Golden Rules and Dos & Don'ts, is a far more fitting style for me.

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