This quote has so much truth to it. People always told me I had great writing skills. I believed them. Writing is one of my greatest passions and truly my "element", so I believed what others told me about my writing. I even wrote a book and published it! People still complimented me on my writing ability, and I believed them even more.
Then I joined a writer's group.
In our group, we all learn a little bit each time we meet. A grammar rule (or a change in grammar rules since the 90's when I learned all the rules). A better way to incorporate more voice. Appropriate paragraph size. A way to vary sentence structure. How to cut out passive voice in order to use more active verbs. How to condense. What to cut out. Proper editing techniques.
I don't learn a whole lot in one sitting. I don't always take something to be critiqued. I don't even have much to offer as far as critiquing someone else's work. But I listen carefully each time, and then I apply what I learn in that one sitting to my current writing. I hope it's improving. I'm learning to say so much more with a lot less words.
I guess I didn't realize just how much I've learned about writing until the big test came. Pulling out my past work with the intent to revise and rewrite where necessary. I pulled out chapter one of my book and easily cut out nearly a thousand words. Unnecessary words. Repetitive words. Once I gave chapter one a complete revision, I kept going. Every chapter needed work. Lots of work. I knew I needed to cut out the passive voice in order to condense my writing, I just didn't know how much. Wow.
The story didn't change in any way, shape, or form. The writing improved drastically. A much cleaner "work of art". I plan to republish it with the second book as a set, as suggested by my friend in writer's group who said she'd work with me to publish them in a few months.
In addition to having a piece of work that I am much prouder of, it also helped me to relive that first period of connection with Juan David, helping me to deepen the connection we're working on now. I had so many questions about what went on in his head during that "tragic" time when we didn't come through for him, and now I have him here to ask him. What a blessing.
So, though I had intentions of keeping this blog much more up to date this summer, my "re-writing" project sort-of captivated me for the last month. My apologies.