September 22nd. It’s officially fall. And it couldn’t be a better first, fall morning at 8am.
It’s dark and deeply overcast. It’s cool, and already there are brown leaves scattered across the lawn. The rain is steady, soft drifts of it coming down. It patters with a metallic thunk on the cars, drips and splatters from the rooftops, lands softly on the grass and garden, flowers almost faded. Every house is quite. Summer hustle and bustle is over.
Autumn arrives and brings with it a full basket of memories. Moments and feelings of the past so tangible in the air I could reach up and pluck one from the falling rain. I could reach down the wet sidewalk and find a memory amongst the leaves like an abandoned postcard.
Making short films in high school. That time I was obsessed with Celtic knots (a passion I want to get back into). Prep for NaNoWriMo. Halloween costumes. Autumn fills me with a desire to create, to make things, to dive into stories and worlds lurking just below the surface of the woods.
I wonder why some people love summer, and other people love fall. I guess for I love the quietness autumn brings, the steadiness. I love the color blue the sky turns when the sun is out, and I love the dark rainy days when the clouds are in. I love that feeling when the wind blows, leaves running before it, either warning me that something is coming, or asking me out on an adventure.
I love the moodiness. The touch of a gothic novel in the air. It’s a good time of the year to wear black (my favorite), or wander the sidewalks in a billowing cloak (something I don’t do nearly enough. Just on Halloween. As I kid I practically lived in costumes.) It’s a good time to read books and to write them, because it’s too cold to be outside anyway.
The thing that’s changed most over the years is how I edit.
The first novel I edited, I immediately printed out the 120k MS, grabbed a pen, and furiously went away working on line edits.
And that was my problem right there.
At that time, 5-6 years ago, I didn’t understand the concept of macro vs micro edits. This resulted in far more rewrites and far more work. I’d polish a scene only to scrap it later, because I hadn’t taken the time to work on macro edits, aka “big picture” edits first.
It can be so tempting to fix every little sentence, but it’s not good if the big problems aren’t addressed first. Get good bones down, then add the frills.
Because let me tell you I’ve wasted hours in the past with micro edits when I should have been, you know, fixing the plot holes first.
I have never been found without a notebook/journal, not since around the 3rd grade.
Over the years, I’ve jotted down stories, poems, and plenty of angst. For a brief time at the precocious age of maybe 11, I kept a daily journal, writing a song lyric at the end of every entry.
But it was never really consistent. I only wrote when I was in the mood to.
About 3-4 years ago, I decided to try that daily journaling again, and I’ve loved it since. Write every day isn’t a maxim most of us will ever keep, but if journaling counts as writing, it does make that lofty goal many steps closer. It’s not just about working on our latest WIP every day. It’s just about placing words on the page.
Journaling has pushed me to write other things: poems, descriptive prose, personal essays and musings. It’s also a great medium to experiment with stories and characters. I can write a story down in a journal with zero commitments.
And if practice makes perfect, then all the more writing means all the better.