Cutting to the Quick

We’ve been talking a lot about editing lately, so I thought this would be a good time to talk about making things disappear (and my timing couldn’t be better, following Selma’s post).

I just deleted a blog I’d had for about five years. That blog contained stories of my life and my family, the ups and downs of attempting to juggle writing with raising kids. But, after the divorce and subsequent gaining of a partner, writing that blog was no longer a labor of love, it was just a labor.

It began as an outlet for the funny stuff that happened, or at least my humorous take on the everyday. In those virtual pages, I documented everything from my middle son’s first kiss, to my baby’s graduation from high school. As I went through the posts, each event replayed itself in my mind, bringing tears and laughter.

Then, I deleted it.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

It is also one of the best things I could have done.

That life is no longer mine. I have a fresh, new life, one that deserves its own blog with its own style.

I’ve been looking at some of the files on my computer and thinking about doing the same thing. Letting them go. My writing has changed, my style and direction are new. I will not pursue publication for those pieces, for I don’t think I could muster the support for them that I once had.

Which leads me to this: keep your writing fresh. Hanging on to old (unpublished) works can be fun, but don’t let it hold you back from trying new directions. Give yourself permission to relaunch and re-identify yourself if the time is right.

Even published authors do it (they might even get a new name to go with their new direction). Don’t be afraid to explore new directions. You just might be surprised at what a little housekeeping can do for your writer’s soul.

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About Ms. Karen

This is what happens when you live with a writer: there are pens everywhere, except by the phone; notebooks...so many notebooks with strange scribblings that make no sense but must never be thrown away; and long rambling monologues about what certain characters would, or would not do in a given situation. It's almost as difficult as living with an artist. Man, THOSE people are bizarre...
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5 Responses to Cutting to the Quick

  1. Lua says:

    Wow- deleting that blog couldn’t have been easy for you so bravo! Letting go is hard whether it’s a blog, a manuscript, a character, your first car or your past. But it is a form of art we have to master if we want to keep ourselves, our lives and our writing fresh!
    Great post! 🙂

    Like

  2. Selma says:

    I could cry thinking about all those posts where I really got to know you, being gone, but I truly get why you did it. I have recently gone through a lot of old writings of mine and just thrown them out (recycled, of course.) It’s no good in some ways to hang on to stuff you are never going to do anything with. I thought about going through the various manuscripts and keeping various ‘good’ sections of writing, but I just didn’t have the heart for it.

    My writing style has changed a lot and the old stuff doesn’t even seem like it was written by me. It really was time to get rid of it. It is hard to do, but now I feel strangely lighter.

    I am glad I can still read your work here. That is a great thing ♥

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  3. daoine says:

    I could cry, too. I miss that blog and how you cracked me up with your humorous accounts of your daily life. But there are times to move on, and this is that time for you. Hugs, my dear.

    Like

  4. Geraldine says:

    What a big step that was to take but sounds like the right one, right at the time. i think its good to let go and move on, in so many respects. a blog can definitely be one of these. i enjoyed reading this, thanks.

    Like

  5. Ms. Karen says:

    Lua, thanks. It really was a difficult decision, one that I wrestled with for months, and I’ve discovered that I miss it more than I thought I would. Thanks for coming by.

    Selma, don’t cry. I’ve done a lot of that lately! 🙂 There’s been a lot of “mucking out” happening here, not just of my writing, but the whole house and yard thing. I always thought that sort of thing happened only in the spring.

    daoine, thanks for the smiles. However… after deleting it, I found that I miss the “that’s one for the blog” mentality. A lot. But life changed and I just couldn’t keep writing to that particular blog any more. Fresh starts, you know…

    Geraldine, yes, it was the right step at the right time. It’s actually opened a door for me, and I feel like I’m heading in the right direction. Thanks for stopping in! 🙂

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