Yesterday, and this morning, I’ve been clearing out my writing folders. It’s long overdue! While they are fairly well organized, they are (were) littered with stories that simply don’t hold that essential spark. I made a point of reading through them all, just to be sure, and was disappointed that a lot of the stories I thought were pretty good were not.
Immediately, the ‘I suck!’ thoughts set in. It’s pretty natural. I was feeling low about the quality of my writing, considering that some of these pieces are just under a year old. I thought that I got this whole short story thing now. I thought I was better than this.
Then I was reminded that each of these stories has been part of the journey. They may not be (now, or ever) up to scratch for publication, or even for giving away/sharing with friends, but they have all been part of the process. The words were not a waste. Not every story can be amazing, not every story can even be great, and to expect that level of awesome from myself is unrealistic. (Maybe when I am getting eight hours a night, every night, and the kids are in school…lol). Sometimes you have to clear out the mess so that you can make room for the good stuff.
So what am I left with? 20 or so stories in my ‘trunk folder’, 5 in my ‘to finish’ folder, and just a couple out on submission – one of which I will be trunking when it gets rejected. There are plenty of other ideas floating around, and at some point when I have more time, I’ll get back into the habit of writing shorts on a regular basis.
At some point, I will also have to go through my novels and clear them out as well. I’m not quite ready for that yet though. I am firmly attached to each of my novellas, so they aren’t going anywhere. It’s a little scary, culling. It makes it seem like you have little to show for all that time. But I know, those words were not a waste.
*With thanks to Sadie Hart and her tweets to me earlier today*