Becoming a Better Writer: Easier Than You Think
Well, probably because an editor rejected them.
It may seem tragic at the time, but rejection is not the end of the road to publication. What is tragic is leaving those stories and poems and essays to lounge about while you peck away at your keyboard, becoming a better writer.
That’s right. Every day that you write, you’re becoming a better writer. You may not realize it, but you’re improving your craft. Every day that you read good writing, or tips about good writing, you’re picking up nuances or figuring out pitfalls. In short, you’re building necessary skills whenever you work. And because of this practice, you’re not the same writer today that you were yesterday. Or the day before that. Or the month before that.
So what does that mean for you, the I-am-writer, hear-me roar?
Don’t give up on those old stories, those dejected poems, those languishing essays! Take them out and give them a read. You may be surprised at the gems waiting for you.
Now, technically, they may not be gems at first read. I mean, let’s be realistic. There may have been a very good reason why a piece of writing was rejected. But here’s the good news. Because you’re a better writer, you can peruse that piece of writing and figure out why it was rejected.
I’m a big believer in going back to old writing, even though I have read some pretty cringe-worthy stuff and wondered how in the world I ever sent that piece of writing (and I use that term loosely) out into the world. But I almost always see something in that writing that makes me stop and think, “Hold on, Cathy. You have something here.”
And wonder of wonders! I can see—almost immediately—what I couldn’t see before! I can see where the plot went south, or that a character limped along, or that a theme is completely missing. And even more wondrous? I know how to fix it!
So I attack that writing. I polish up that gem and make it sparkle. More often than not, the new and improved piece goes back out into the world—and it’s not rejected. It’s accepted for publication, or places in a contest.
Honestly, all the work you do will pay off! Why, you’re a better writer already for having stopped by here to read The Muffin. Now all you have to do is open a file, pluck something out—and (re)write!
~ Cathy C. Hall (Hear me roar!)