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Michelle's Musings

True Confessions, Part 1

For the last several years, I've worked on multiple iterations and rewrites of my novel, Hide and Seek. I just completed another revision, but the truth of the matter is that the time-consuming nature of this process is hampering my progress with other projects that I'm anxious to pursue. While I'm not throwing in the towel, I'm going to shelve my novel for a bit to make time for shorter nonfiction pieces.


As I slogged through novel revisions, I learned a lot about myself as a writer, including that I have difficulty focusing on a project of that length for long stretches of time. That same struggle with focus has also prevented me from being an ardent reader, which is something I've been reluctant to admit. If you've read my earlier blogs, you may recall that I attributed these impediments to dyslexia. Looking back over several decades, I better understand why my class studies were more difficult than they should have been and why I heavily relied upon memorization to pass my exams, which I often struggled to complete in the allotted time.


Typing sometimes frustrates me to the point that I curse my hands or pound my fist onto my desk because of my inability to get through a single paragraph without transposing "f" with "g" or "v" with "b" or "x" with "z" or entire words, even. The same goes for handwriting. I reread and correct my work ad nauseam, which bodes well for revisions of my writing projects that I patiently carry out until I can read through an entire manuscript without cringing. As a result, my work is fairly "clean" upon submission. But perseveration often interferes with my narrative flow, particularly in a long piece of fiction, which is why I find writing nonfiction more gratifying. The words seem to pour onto the pages. And, oh my, have I got a lot to say...


(At the first writing of this blog post, my thoughts and feelings flowed out of my fingertips like a gushing waterfall, and I soon realized that it was going to be much longer than prior posts. Lest you become disenchanted with too long of a read here, I've parceled this tome into three segments. So stay tuned for next month's installment (#2) of "True Confessions.")


No Quitters Here

I'd hoped to finish the current rewrite of my novel by the end of the year, but that didn't happen. It wasn't for a lack of trying, however. I attended a course or two on novel revision and mechanics that I found quite inspirational. I even took time off to enter a couple of writing contests. That inspiration kept me energized enough to continue plowing through my novel, which I've been working on for several years.


The writing courses revealed major flaws, but I've been excited to implement new tools to correct those flaws. When I look back on the length of this project, however, I find myself a bit disheartened, leading me to ponder whether a novel-size project is too big for someone like me--someone who learned not that long ago that those pesky issues with lack of focus, words jumping off and around the page, difficulty with reading comprehension, etc. are likely symptoms of dyslexia. Several online tests indicated at least moderate dyslexia.


I write nearly every day despite the fact that I transpose letters of the alphabet with reglular frequency, a phenonmenon that accelerates with fatigue. Sometimes I get so frustrated, I literally shout at myself (I'll leave the epithets to your imagination). To improve my writing, I've started reading more, even though it's been a difficult endeavor for as long as I can remember. If I stay with a novel, or even a sample chapter on my e-reader, I learn a lot about the craft, which pays homage to the adage I've heard time and again from other writers: read, write, read, write, and then read and write some more.


One thing I've never been is a quitter. I truly enjoy writing, and I look forward to reading more and writing more in the coming days and months. So here's a toast to all those non quitters who also plan to make the best of 2020: Happy New Year to all, and may the Muse be with you!

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