Remember the advice your parents, teachers, professors gave you when it came to writing something important?
Leave it alone for a while. Then come back to it with fresh eyes.
I decided to take that advice out of the drawer, dust it off and see if it still worked.
I’ve left my short story alone this week. I’ve got so caught up in those two characters that I worry I can no longer see the wood for the trees. Little pieces of dialogue I felt essential last week probably need to be chop chop chop taken out with deadly precision. I know the ending is too weak. Sometimes we’re in such a hurry to get to the exciting final few lines that we rush the last part of the journey. Always a mistake.
With that in mind, I’m taking my mind off writing. I’m still reading, of course, there’s a limit to how many passions I can give up at once. And I’m still here, so obviously I haven’t entirely stopped writing. I had a point but now I’m not sure what it was.
To distract myself from thinking about my current favourite fictional people, my son has found us baking shows to watch together on Netflix.
Last night we powered our way through Nailed It! (Basically the show for anyone who’s ever tried to bake something they saw on Pinterest and have it go up in flames. So badly that people have made memes about it. And now a Netflix show.)
If I could split myself in two, I’d be half-writer half-baker. When I eventually remodel the kitchen in my happy place, I will make it a baker’s kitchen. There’s so much about cake creation that I still want to learn.
But this short break has been good. Last year, when I stopped writing for a few days, I stopped feeling like a writer. Coming back to writing was like going back to an exercise regime; such a hassle I’d just keep putting it off until the day I woke up and my clothes didn’t fit. Now it’s nothing like that.
I still feel every bit like a writer.
Tomorrow I want to come back to my story with fresh eyes. Objective eyes. Hopefully eyes that can still see magic in there, not eyes that want to hit delete delete delete.
Then we’ll see if that old piece of advice still holds true. If I can see the wood for the trees. If I can see the faults, the problems, the beauty.
I hope I’ll know what needs to be strengthened, changed or simply removed. But mainly I hope I will still feel the same sense of magic reading it that I did while writing it.