I’ve been reading “Writing Magic” by Gail Carson Levine, the Newberry Honor author of Ella Enchanted. It is one of the best writing books I’ve read. In the book she gives seven rules of writing. The seventh rule is as follows:
“Save everything you write, even if you don’t like it, even if you hate it. Save it for a minimum of fifteen years. I’m serious. At that time, if you want to, you can throw it out, but even then don’t discard your writing lightly.”
She goes on to explain why this is one of her rules.
“I used to think, long ago, that when I grew up, I’d remember what it felt like to be a child and that I’d always be able to get back to my child self.
But I can’t.
When you become a teenager, you step onto a bridge. You may already be on it. The opposite shore is adulthood. Childhood lies behind. The bridge is made of wood. As you cross, it burns behind you.”
Keep in mind this book says it is written for children ages 10 and up. Since I love this book that probably says something about me—but we won’t explore it too closely. Most of us are already past childhood and teenage years. If you’re not, lucky you! If you've been writing since you were a child and have saved your work, I’m sure it’s a treasure.
I entered the first chapter contest at the LDStorymakers Conference. It was an interesting experience for me. I had no intention of winning, which I didn’t, but I did think my writing was good. I learned a lot from the comments I received from the judges. My first reaction was to go home and shred my manuscript. Not because I was mad or discouraged, but simply because I’d learned so much and knew I could do it better. I’m going to save that manuscript and all the others I write in the future, so someday I can look back and see how far I’ve come.
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