Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Soirée - Revisiting your earlier writings

Every now and then I make my way back to pieces I wrote in the early days of my writing journey. It is an exercise I encourage you to do as often as you can, especially when you're feeling unsure of yourself as a writer.

It is Revelatory
Returning to your previous writing is always revelatory. You shrink back in horror at the mistakes you made and wonder what were you thinking. But you know that those were definitely your amateur days because you have improved. You laugh at how slavishly you stuck to certain rules which you no longer obey because you have traveled far and are now braver and more confident about implementing some of the writing advice you have read since then. Some of that advice encouraged you to break a few rules to expand your comfort zone and broaden your horizons.

It is Emotional
Looking back into the annals of your writing journey will evoke the memories and emotions of those early stirrings of your passion. Those were the days when your passion burned bright and fear had not yet entered to dim the flame and paralyze you.

It is Inspiring
It doesn't matter whether you go back to read a published piece, an introductory, cover or query letter, a journal entry, a response to a writing prompt or a writing exercise from a writing class. If you make the backward journey, you're sure to be inspired by your very attempts to honor your dream to be a writer.

You may not be as far along in your writing journey as you would like, but that's all right. Maybe you are right where you should be. In any case, what matters is that you are where you are now and if writing remains your heart's deepest passion, you can only move forward.

Taking a look back at your early days of writing, your maiden voyage, your virgin attempts, your first cautious steps into the writing world, is a great way:

* to identify what you have learned.
* to see what you're left behind.
* to fan the flames of your passion that life and fear and all sorts negativity has dimmed.
* to be inspired to give your writing the attention it deserves today, in the midst of your busy life and multiple responsibilities.

Following is an excerpt of a journal entry I wrote in 1999:
"It is almost unbelievable that it is one year since my decorating column debuted in the Trinidad Style Magazine. Even more remarkable is the fact that I am actually writing. In reality, I am only just beginning to wade in the dream I have harbored in my heart since childhood.

Dreams do come true and mine has. Because I believe that God is in control of all things concerning me, I am convinced that this dream, my dream to be a writer is neither too early nor too late. It is on time I must resolve to give it the time and attention it needs to flourish."
I also share with you two articles I wrote about writing. It's a Seesaw and My Computer is in a Coma were published at Absolute Write in 2003.

I'd enjoy reading something you wrote in the early days of your writing journey. Please feel free to share it here or if you prefer, email it to me at www.cherylwright55@hotmail.com

8 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

I know exactly that feeling of looking back to something you wrote in the past--ugh! It always makes me wonder how bad the stuff I am writing today is!!

Cheryl Wright said...

Terri,

True, old pieces, if written badly could frighten us because we might think we have continued writing the same way. But more often than not, if we are persist in our writing efforts and improving ourselves and our work, our writing will improve.

You describe yourself as an inspirational writer and that's what your writing is, inspiring - and that is good. Your posts are beautifully written and touches the heart.

It is just that old disgruntled inner critic that's putting negative thoughts in your head.

Magnolia said...

Cheryl,

Thanks for sharing those aritcles. The more I get to know you over the computer world we both live in, the more I consider you a friend and just love you!

I love your heart, your perspective and your desire to help others overcome and achieve the things they desire.

I could see myself in the words you wrote......that even though you had published work, you still did not "see" yourself as a writer.

I know that feeling. It is also something I'm working on daily to get into my head and heart, that no matter what my age, I can be a writer.

I have longed to be a writer as far back as I can remember.

At 21, a friend of mine who was just graduating from college was lamenting her confusion for her future......medical school, law school, what to do? She asked if I knew what I wanted to do and I said very strongly......

"Yes, I want to be a writer". It was rather shocking to me that it came out so strongly and deliberately because I had kept that secret hidden in my heart since I was a child.

I kept trying to tell myself I would be a better sociologist, or psychologist, or as I ended up.....an accountant. (Yes, I have a degree in accounting).

Though I was a good accountant, it didn't light the passions in my soul the way writing does.

Now, at fifty-one, I have a wonderfully supportive husband whose greatest pleasure is to watch me succeed and do the things I love.

So, as my children get older, I'm taking the steps to pursue my life long passion......writing.

I am a writer.

Thank you.

Much love to you today!

Cheryl Wright said...

Well look at you, you writer you.

Thanks for sharing your story. It is evident that writing is your joy and your passion.

Many writers have confessed how difficult is has been to tag "writer" to their names. Two years after I had been writing a monthly decorating column,I had am epiphany - Hey, I am a writer. Then it took another few years before I could say it to another person. Even now, sometimes I find myself shrinking back into that old sabotaging mindset but I muster up a little courage and tell someone I am speaking with that indeed, I am a writer.

Sometimes too, when my confidence is riding a little high (it does that sometimes), I steer the conversation towards the subject of job and dreams so that I can talk about how I pursued my dream and how passionate I am about writing. And I make sure I actually say the words, "I am a writer." Sneaky huh?

Writers are their own worst enemies I believe. We can't wait around for other people to call us what and who we are. We must become our own best friends, acknowledge who and what we are and say to ourselves, "I am a writer." Then that confidence within will manifest itself without in our personalities, our speech, our actions and ultimately in our writing.

Yes you are a writer Mags. Say it to yourself, never miss an opportunity to speak those words in your conversations.

Joanne said...

It is important to look back, to learn and reflect on our writing. There's something to be gained from it, some experience we can take with us as we move forward, and keep writing, keep learning. Thanks for visiting my blog, I've enjoyed browsing here.

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi Joanne,

Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. I've been reading your archived posts and enjoying them.

Melissa Donovan said...

How weird - just last night I added some action items to my to do list for this very thing - going back through my old writings (blog posts, mostly). I'd like to clean some of them up and see if I can gain new inspiration. Don't you just love coincidences?

Cheryl Wright said...

Coincidence indeed; luv 'em! They happen quite often among people of like-mind and like-passions.

Thanks for your visit Melissa.

 
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