Thursday, July 31, 2008

August Audit

For month's I've been thinking about designating a month to go back through my back catalogue of work. I realise that I'm great generally at generating work, but once it has been posted for Fiction Friday or Musical Musings, it ends to be save the ever growing 'creative writing' folder on my hard drive, and the increasing number of sub folders within it. There it just sitting there collecting figurative dust.

I've been writing regularly now for more than a year, though I have yet to chalk up my one year anniversary with Fiction Friday which really heralded my huge leap of faith into writing in a serious determined manner. And after a year or more, I have no idea what I have written. According to my labelling system on my blog there are 29 short stories - but I'm not sure if I might have accidentally included some NaNo extracts in that. But 29 stories? Off the top of my head I can probably only easily and quickly remember half a dozen at best.

I'm therefore declaring the coming month "August Audit" and it has nothing to do with keeping the tax man at bay - as if you're anything like me there is no income stream for the taxman to nose around in. August is about trawling through your hard drive and your paper archives to work out exactly what work you have lying around.

First job is to catalogue what it is you have - the title of the work, the date you completed it and the genre to which you think it might belong. If the last one alludes you (as it does to me often) leave it be. Don't procrastinate from continuing just because you can't give your work a genre pigeon hole.

Second job is to read everything that you have. Yes, go back and enjoy the blood, sweat and tears invested into each piece. Give yourself the opportunity to cringe at early work, or work that cashes in too much on adverbs, too many adjectives, poor character construction, the lack of a story. Love all the quirks and warts .. they are part of your journey as a writer. Going back over old work also allows us to have perspective on our journey as writers. How far we've come and how far we still have to go. Lastly reading gives us a chance to become reacquainted with characters we may have forgotten, scenarios that may work in a different setting. If you have a NaNo project that you have touched since last year .. go back and read it. You might be pleasently surprised at what you fine.

Third job is to pick a dozen stories (or more if you are incredibly motivated) that you want to re-edit, polish up and make a committment to yourself to have them in a final draft form by the end of the month. Share them with a writers' group (if you don't have a writers group think seriously about forming one, or seeking one out either in the flesh or online) Get some critical feedback, see where your strengths are and where you are needing additional work.

Lastly, explore publishing options. In Australia we are lucky enough to have the Australian Writers Marketplace which is a phenomenal publishing resource for writers. It has been on my 'to do list' to join up, so August is the month I'm going to walk the talk. I am certain that there are writers resources for publishing in other countries to help you traverse the mire. Leave a list here to assist other writesr in your area.

Feeling brave, feeling inspired ... feeling daunted? That's OK ... so am I, but I'm always up for a challenge. Blog your progress and each week I'll work out a way for us to reconnect with each other to tap into the vertible well of support and encourage we have for each other.

Joyous auditing!
Cartoon from the Accord site - which not surprisingly has to do with accounting and data collection!

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