Letting Things Stew

I’ve always been someone who doesn’t immediately jump on the bandwagon of the latest and greatest things.  When it became popular for women to wear boxer shorts, it took me five years to adopt that fashion statement.  When Apple came out with the first iPod, I waited for a few years until the bugs had been worked out, and someone other than Apple manufactured one (I have a strong aversion to anything Apple, but that’s neither here nor there).  I also haven’t yet purchased a flat screen TV, and I just saw something that makes me glad I didn’t – there’s a new one coming out by Vizio that will show letterbox movies without the black lines above and below the picture!  WooHoo!  I HATE those lines with a vengeance, but I do agree that watching a movie in widescreen means you get the whole movie.

I just prefer to see if something will last long enough to leave the “fad” phase & become enmeshed into the mainstream.

It even took me until I was well into my twenties before I began taking vacation photos.  My mom and her boyfriend came to visit while I worked at Disney World, and of the dozens of rolls of pictures he’d taken, maybe one roll turned out.  He bought me a Kodak Advantix camera and some film and asked me to retake the photos for him.  Thirty-five rolls later, I was hooked!  Now I rarely take less than 400 pictures while on vacation.

But I digress here…While I can be impulsive in many ways, there are just some things that I need to let stew with me for a while.

I’ve noticed this with regards to the series I’m writing.  I finished the first draft of the first book, revised it a few times, and then queried some agents.  I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft of the second book and some aspects of my returning characters are just now coming through to me.  I’ve also found the comments from members of my critique group to be extremely helpful.  They’ve caught plot holes I hadn’t on my many rounds of revisions, and because I’ve had to go back and correct those, I’ve found other ways to improve the first book as well.

Other writers had told me that it’s a good idea to put a manuscript aside for a while, so that you can look at it with fresh eyes later, but in my hasty desire to be published, I think I gave myself a week or two.  Now I see the value in letting a work “stew in its own juices” for even longer (probably a month or two for me).  I can continue to work on the series with the subsequent books, which might also help other characters and subplots to gel better in my head.

The same holds true with regards to this blog.  I have a few posts sitting in draft form, and those ideas float around in my head for a while until something begins to take shape.  Then, even when I’ve chosen a topic to write about one week, I work on it for several days before posting it on Friday.  Since my thoughts tend to jump from one track to the next quite easily, sitting on it helps me to organize them better.

Here’s a wonderful quote that sums it up very nicely…

Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Letting things sit for a while gives me time to digest them, and, more often than not, they turn out better for the waiting.

Do you find the same is true for you?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana
    Jan 21, 2011 @ 09:17:13

    I tend to be like you when it comes to not jumping on fad bandwagons. I was one of the last people I know to even get a cell phone and only just upgraded to an iPhone for reasons I won’t bore you with here! I have never, however, worn men’s boxer shorts! 🙂

    I find some things need to be written RIGHT NOW because that’s what my muse is telling me to do (also some of my deadlines have been evil and I didn’t have a choice), but other projects really have benefited from being shelved for a while and gaining perspective. I’ve been thinking about my memorial post for my cat Beezle for two weeks now and still haven’t written it, partly because it’s still too fresh and I’m not ready to feel the grief well up and also because it’s just not quite time for me to write it. I’ve written some of it in my head… but am not quite ready to commit it to paper… well, computer.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jan 21, 2011 @ 09:41:54

      LOL! I gotta tell you, Dana…boxer shorts are SO comfy! I don’t wear them out & about, but around the house…oh yeah!

      As for Beezle’s memorial…something like that will DEFINITELY take time to get down. But the great thing is, when you finally do, it’ll be the perfect time & the perfect words. 🙂


  2. Mom
    Jan 21, 2011 @ 12:47:39

    With me it varies. Some things just flow, while others take thought & planning. Some of the things that just flow, I leave, yet others, I may change a word here &/or there. The same holds true for me with things that have taken longer to compose – some times I change nothing, other times it may be one or two words, it may be an entire line, or a whole stanza. I think also, some changes may reflect where we are when we go back over it, which might not be where we were during the original drafting.


  3. Gail
    Jan 21, 2011 @ 15:00:55

    I would never subject anyone to my first drafts! My thoughts tumble out chaotically and always require revision. Several of my blog posts sit in queue until my mind (or muse?) catches up to produce a coherent article.


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