In the past months, since just before my dad died, I've had the time to write more. In that time, I've started writing, revising and submitting. I've started to stack up acceptances. It's an incredible feeling.
It feels like I'm starting over.
And it feels wonderful.
When I was at Clarion West, I asked my instructors what I should go home and work on. They all told me to go home and write. Just write and write. I was hoping to get some insight, like, "Your plotting needs work. Go home and work on plotting." Or maybe, "Your characterization needs work. Go focus on that."
I expected this partially because this was some of the directions my classmates were getting and I knew (and know) I have all kinds of things to work on. But that's not what I got, and yet it was the best advice for me. There's no better advice to any writer than to write and write and read and read and write some more.
I've been discussing my Clarion West experience a lot with classmate chris_reynaga. One thing we've discussed is our own inability to see our strengths and weaknesses until someone else, someone we trust, holds up a mirror and tells us.
And it's true. I have no idea what my strengths are until someone tells me. Chris tells me my strength is my ability to capture emotion. I never would have guessed this -- it's innate to me. One of his strengths is description -- of place, of action, of character. Again, this isn't something he sees in himself, but it is something he worked on when he was younger because he felt it was a weakness.
Which raises another point. Chris is a prime example of how we can take a weakness and turn it into a strength. This gives me so much hope.
So I write. And I write. And I write. And now I'm revising and preparing to submit at the rate I was before life fell apart a few years ago. And I take the faith my friends have expressed and hold it close.
John Lennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" just started to play on my music player. Synchronicity. I titled this entry before I typed the first word.