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Starting Over

Good morning everyone!

CP Bialois
CP Bialois

Have you ever felt the need to start over?

It could be something as simple as literally starting from scratch or finding a way to regain something we lost. For me, it was the latter.

In a way, it came down to a single piece of advice I always give new writers: Don’t be afraid to do something different as long as you stay true to yourself and your work.

Simple, right?

Well, yes and no. You see, over the last few years I’ve adopted a few storytelling techniques I’ve read about or had others share to help improve my stories. I’m one that believes we never stop learning, so it came naturally. The only problem was most of what I was hearing and adopting didn’t work well with my natural style.

Here’s an example:

As many of you know, I prefer writing in Third Person Omniscient. For me, it just flows better and deeper than other styles most of the time. In using that, I also use various points of views from various characters to set up their character and move the story along.

A lot of what I was reading was using Limited and limiting (Pun intended) the POVs to three to five characters at most. I figured that sounded cool since I sometimes write in Limited and I usually don’t use more than a handful of character POVs anyway. Everything seemed to work well until I tried to merge it with my storytelling method.

What happened wasn’t something I expected. My stories lacked a lot of the emotional punch, both positive and negative, I usually have, and my characters seemed a little flat to me. The biggest problem was, I couldn’t figure out how or what I did wrong.

Then a month ago I had the urge to read Stephen King’s On Writing.

JanDix / Pixabay

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever read it or not, but to me, it’s the writing bible and something every writer should read. (If it works for you, great. If not, great. Take what works for you and your story and leave the rest). It’s largely about how he became a writer and is more inspirational than instruction, and it was a major factor to me finding my way when I first started writing.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but reading it again wasn’t as much inspiring as it was grounding. Thirty pages into the book I saw where my story telling style had become stretched thin, too thin, honestly.

In an effort to improve my writing, I submarined it by losing my own voice while incorporating what I’d learned. It was seriously like someone turned on the light in a dark room for me.

As a result, I decided to let go of my determination to crank out books and to take my time. I had started to look at writing as a job instead of something I loved to do, and I felt like I was competing with my previous self productivity-wise. As soon as I realized those issues, it felt like a huge weight fell from my shoulders and the ideas started flowing like the old days.

Now, with Camp NaNo upon us, I’m writing like I used to, and it’s added a whole new level of enojoyment I forgot along the way.

One saying that keeps coming to mind is, “So, this is what creativity looks like.” It’s been a while, and we all have a “AHA!” moment or discover something new about ourselves. Not only is it how we learn and grow, but, I think, it’s a break that we may need.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you restarted a story or even your style after having an “AHA!” moment? What do you think of restarting ourselves?

Until next time, my friends, Let your imaginations fly!

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8 Responses

  1. Joni M Fisher
    | Reply

    Thank you, CP, for sharing how you rediscovered your voice. Nanowrimo helped me strengthen my true voice when I took one Nanowrimo challenge to write a memoir. Knowing no one would ever read it, I wrote with abandon and from deep point of view, honestly and directly. A month or two later, I mined that 50,000 words for essays that paid for that month off from work. Turns out when I write for myself, more humor emerges.

    • CP Bialois
      | Reply

      You’re welcome. 🙂 That’s so awesome! There’s nothing better than those moments when the light goes on. 🙂

  2. Tricia Pimental
    | Reply

    Great post, CP. Not only have you given me–a person who has spent the last 25 years starting over–something to think about, but I’m going to reread King’s book. You are right, it’s a gem.

    • CP Bialois
      | Reply

      Thank you. I’m glad I could be of service. 🙂

  3. Barbara Fifield
    | Reply

    With my three novels, I was in a hurry to finish each up within 18 months. With my memoir which I’ve been writing for almost two years, I’ve taken my time. When I go slower, I’ve noticed that new ideas to improve the writing have come to me so this will be a better book once it is finished. I may even stop working on it for a few months and let it marinate like a good sauce does with meat. When will I finally finish it? End of this year? I don’t know. But I know I no longer wish to get a book a year out into the world. It’s quality rather than quantity which counts for me, regardless what those best seller writers do.

    • CP Bialois
      | Reply

      Very cool. I know exactly what you mean. I was writing four to five books a year and publishing anywhere from two to four a year to activate Amazon’s algorythms. It’s so much better separating the marketing and writing now that I keep wondering why it took so long to figure it out. lol Hope it continues working for you. 🙂

  4. David Edmonds
    | Reply

    Another informative post. Thank you, CP, for sharing.

    • CP Bialois
      | Reply

      My pleasure, David. Glad you liked it. 🙂

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