Friday, September 9, 2016

Transitioning in Age and Writing

Transitioning in Age and Writing by Debra H. Goldstein

For the past few months, many members of the Stiletto Gang have given you the opportunity to learn about our similarities and differences through our 4th Thursday Clicking Our Heels column or by interpreting the same topic in one of our monthly posts.  Unfortunately, although I usually pull Clicking Our Heels together, I’ve missed the monthly topics because my travel schedule necessitated pre-scheduling my blog post before it was picked.  Not this month!  This time, you get my take on whether my maturity as a writer (translate that to transition in chronological years) affects my manuscripts.

The problem addressing this topic is that even as the years pass, I don’t think I’ve matured yet.  Sure, I know more of my strengths (plotting) and weaknesses (I’m reserved in life and have to go back and let you know more of my characters’ inner thoughts), but I’m a writing neophyte.  I only began seriously writing in the past five years. 

What comes to mind when you think of a five-year-old? Curiosity? Incessant why, what, when, where
questions? Exploration? Or, perhaps that adorable moment when the whirlwind falls asleep?

For the first few years, I punted. I often was too na├»ve to ask the right questions, but I observed. Today, my writing life is exactly like a five-year-old.  I can’t soak up enough knowledge.  Whether
I’m reading, taking a class, or talking to someone, I want to learn everything.  Sometimes, I pick up a habit or a concept that impresses me, but isn’t right for my writing. Other times, I have a eureka lightbulb moment during which my writing jumps to a new level.  Hopefully, the result of my five-year-old wonder is that both my short and long pieces have improved. 

Whether I’m writing flash fiction, a six-thousand-word story, or a novel, the length is dictated by what is required to share the tale with you rather than my maturity as a writer. I remove boring parts more easily because I am a better editor than I was five years ago, but those edited parts may be replaced by longer passages of enhanced characterization.

So, my answer as to whether maturity affects the length of my manuscript is “It depends.” The only thing I am certain of is my prayer that as I transition in years, my writing never loses the wonder of being a five-year-old

15 comments:

  1. Oh, I so love this post, Debra! And I agree completely here. (And on my own, I'll admit I've sometimes learned about my own writing process--or what it should be--by watching my son's learning processes in any number of other areas.)

    Thanks for this!

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    1. Appreciate your thoughts, Art. It is true, the wonder of children brings us lessons every day. When you watched Dash learn to play with legos or do so many of the things he now does, he exhibited the same steps of transition we do in our writing (and which we sometimes take for granted). Thanks for stopping by today.

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  2. Terrific post, Debra! I've been writing a long time, but when I'm starting something new, all that 5-year-old exuberance and curiosity is there. Don't ask what happens by the time i get to the middle of the book, please.

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    1. I already know the answer in your case --- maturity (and revision)

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  3. Love this post! And I'm with Linda on the mid-book blues. But yes, the beginning is like a shiny new bike.

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    1. Been so excited for you with your new book.....a great beginning !!!

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  4. Wonderful topic, Debra, with interesting thoughts you have expressed. I think the learning curve goes on and on and on...at least I hope it does. My most favorite thing is to learn something new. Getting better is a delight, even when, gulp, I learn from a mistake. (I do not want to write the word "fail--e.")

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    1. Even a mistake isn't necessarily a failure. As you point out, you learn from it. Is it a failure when a baby touches something hot or simply a moment of learning (growth)?

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  5. Excellent post, Debra! As neophytes, we are open to learning and experimenting...definitely a strength when it comes to writing.

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. One of the things I love about your blog is your exposure of so many people who have been willing to learn and experiment.

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  6. Well done, Debra. I love the idea that you retain the freshness and enthusiasm of a five year old. The one thing that writing as an older person has brought me is insight into human nature - otherwise, I hope I am also channeling my inner child.

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    1. I'm sure you are :). Thank you for stopping by.

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  7. Great post, Debra. I've been writing a long time professionally for businesses, and only self publishing recently, though it's been my life's dream. I still learn new things all the time and can distinguish now between good writing and great writing, and good practice and bad practice (at least for me), so there's been lots of growth. But even after all these years, I am the five-year-old sponge, too, soaking up something fun I didn't know before, and still excited to learn how others are finding writing success. I think that's the only way to be, if you're a writer.

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    1. So right. The best thing is the feeling of excitement that comes from doing something from passion. I, too, wrote in my other job....but it isn't the same.

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