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The Long and Winding Road....

It's been a while...a long while.
What's that adage about life happening when you were busy making other plans? Yeah, that happened.

I remember finishing last year's A-Z blog in April, then I wrote my reflection post in May---which was closely followed by a depressing Mother's Day post (that I have since removed). And then,
there's nothing. After that, I sort of faded away from the blogoshere--quite unintentionally.

One missed blogging day turned into one missed blogging week, which became a month and now, finally, a year...

I never planned on dropping out of sight, but then, life stuck its nose in and messed up my plans.

Sad thing, nothing noteworthy happened during my year-long hiatus. I just did other things.

I did complete another year of NaNoWriMo-- my 8th year--in November! And, it was the first year that I blew away the word count goal and set my personal best at 85K!! So, there was definitely a noteworthy month during my absence.

Christmas came and went, and like any other retail slave during the holidays, there was very little that I was physically able to do when I came home from work other than sleep---I have yet to produce anything (writing, reading, or otherwise) during the month of December and January...not that I don't put a concentrated effort into it, there's just nothing left of me when the workday's done.

By the end of January, though,I had done something I'd never managed to do in all the years I've been writing---create a solid revision plan for a novel-in-progress. I even had definitive deadlines written up for myself and a mapped out order of revision steps. I felt like a real, grown-up writer.

I've been writing most of my life and I know I've been writing toward myself---or writing toward what my writer self should be---but this is the first time I've really gotten a handle on all those writing/revision/plotting books I've consumed. It was a jolting epiphany, a physical shudder as things slotted into place... finally. Finally.

I could repeat all the tips and suggestions and rules for making stories work verbatim. And I could do it ad nauseam. But, that didn't mean I understood them...or, that I could put them into action. Now I think I might be able to manage it.

By nature I'm a single-draft, binge writer. I love the adrenalin that comes from writing a whole bunch of words in a very short time and when that time is up, for me, the story's up--which goes a long way to explaining why I have half a million words and nothing to show for it. I've always had a hard time going back to a story for the purposes of redrafting and revising, even though I WANT to finish my stories and I WANT to be published.

As a result of my epiphany, I've come to believe that it isn't the redrafting/revising that's turned me into a commitment-phobe. It was the fact that redrafting/revising to try and produce what my story looked like in my head was so daunting. I didn't know where to start, which meant I really didn't know where to finish. Yet, as the pieces of story structuring began fitting together, so too did the beginnings of my understanding about how to make it all work---

And, all of this brings me to where I am right now...

It's day 5 of the month of April, and I would normally already have the first 4 blog posts for the A-Z blogging challenge posted and most likely the next several letter posts figured out. This would have been my 5th year. I even set the month of April aside in my revision plan, just so I could do A-Z. I figured I would need a break from revising. But, I couldn't settle on a theme--the first year I didn't use a theme and it was such a pain/struggle trying to come up with blogging ideas.

In my despair of trying to find my theme, I decided to give A-Z a miss this year. I decided to use the month to continue reworking my novel from November, not really worrying about missing A-Z. Of course I woke one morning at the end of March with the brilliant idea that I could use the month of April as a submitting month. And, I could fashion it to the A-Z format--posting a letter-specific blog about which journal I was submitting to, problem solved!

Then.....I reread the short stories I'd started submitting last year.

Funny what a year's distance will do to one's perspective.

After the things I'd learned over the last year began to sink in, I realized the stories I'd been submitting were utter crap and I couldn't figure out why I believed they were submission-worthy in the first place. And, I'm seriously not putting on the "my stuff sucks and I'll never be a writer, I should just go live in a cave" act---though, I wouldn't be opposed to living in a cave. No, these stories are truly crap, and now I can see why.

All I have to do now is fix them...

This last year I know I've taken another step forward in my evolution as a writer. And, I know the next step--being able to fix what I can now see as wrong--should, hopefully, find its way into my hard-wiring soon. Until then, I'll just have to keep slugging along.

The road is long...
The road is winding...
And I'm still traveling on.............

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