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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Save it all!


I just finished reading Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. Even though it is a writing book written for children I still learned a lot.

One of her tips that really struck me was—Save EVERYTHING you write.

She, of course, is writing this book for kids, so why would she tell them, “don’t discard your writing lightly”?

I’m just going to quote her book because she puts it so beautifully.

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. The opposite shore is adulthood. Childhood lies behind. The bridge is made of wood. As you cross it burns behind you. If you save what you write, you still won’t be able to cross back into childhood. But you’ll be able to see yourself in that lost country. You’ll be able to wave to yourself across that wide river.

This is so profound to me, and I think it applies to all of us. I’ve been though incredibly hard trials in my life, but not that I am through them the edge is gone—my burden had been eased and I can only remember what it was like to feel the pain.

But when I go back and read what I wrote in those times I can feel it all again.

So listen to Gail :) Save everything. You never know when an old experience will need to be relived.

-Angie

18 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Excellent advice!

Suzi said...

This is so true. I'm amazed at the things I've forgotten from the high school (and earlier) years.

I love reading the journals from back then because there are so many things I don't remember.

Sarah McCabe said...

Unfortunately I don't have anything left from my youth. But I am making sure to save everything my 9 year old daughter writes.

ilima said...

This is one of my favorite craft books. It's basic, clear, and has very practical advice. I'd recommend it to all writers wanting a great foundation for writing.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Dang. Too late. I think that's very wise though.

Kathryn Purdie said...

Sounds like a great book and some great advice. I have a book of creative writing from the 4th grade--it's hilirious!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love this post, and I love that book. I read it about a year ago. I went through some old journals this summer and came across some of my 7th grade dramas . . .how I "HATED" a particular boy in capital letters with plenty of descriptions of his rude behavior, and how I "LOVED" another boy in capital letters and all the reasons why . . .I was a boy crazy girl, and sometimes I forget that now.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have a lot of things I wrote as a child and a teen and one thing stands out...I only had a few functioning brain cells. But Ms. Levine is so right. I look back to my youth and only remember the good. There was a lot of angst and ignorance that your memory softens for you.

Stacy Henrie said...

I'm a firm believer in this! :) My editor asked me to add some more to a scene in my book. I'd written the rest of that scene years before but hadn't used it. Thankfully I'd saved it on my computer. So it really ended up being a pretty easy copy and paste sort of thing. :)

Emily R. King said...

Wonderful advice. I have two thumb drives full of what I've written, even my first, truly embarrassing, books. :)

Johanna Garth said...

Does this mean not burning all my old journals that I kept starting in 4th grade all the way through college? I can't bear to look at them and I don't want my kids to find and read them!

Leigh Covington said...

You're right! That is beautifully put, and SO TRUE! Really glad you shared. I needed this reminder. For me, my kids and my students! :) Thanks Ang!

And LOVE the beautiful fall colors going on here! MY FAVORITE!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

This post especially relevant to what I'm going through right now. I had to buy a new computer because my old one crashed; I didn't back up some of the fiction that I wrote, which means I may have lost it all (unless the technician can transfer the files for me). Now I'm definitely going to save everything.
I have saved all the journals I've kept over the years, though. Sometimes I read through some of them, because it's interesting to remember what it was like that particular year that I wrote in them. I wish I'd kept the stories I wrote when I first started writing (I was only eight or nine back then).

Meredith said...

Wow, I love that quote! All of my childhood writing is up in my closet at my parents' house. I'll have to revisit those amazing stories soon. :)

Imogen Elvis said...

Such good advice and what a wonderful quote. I have most of my writing saved, including the first (terrible) novel I ever wrote. Now finding it, that's another matter...

AmyMak said...

I love that quote...beautiful. And it works against everything in me b/c in my head I'm saying, "purge, purge, purge!" Now I want that book. Come on over today...I'm purging my books in a give-away :)

Tara Tyler said...

i believe in saving, too. i'm a pack rat anyway! i just need to back up my stuff!

(still have negatives from decades ago, remember negatives & film!? ha!)

Kelley Lynn said...

Whew! So far I've followed this advice :) I like to go back sometimes and laugh at my first works. :)

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