Author of Middle Grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Birthday Thoughts

Today I'm another year older, and I have some time on my hands, since my birthday falls on a Monday this year and Monday birthdays are kind of awkward.

I just thought I'd reflect on the things that have changed in the past year.

Health Changes:

I reached my sickest point right before last year's birthday. So, this past year has been all about recovering from that. All in all, I'd say I made a few steps forward in the general "getting well" area. I changed doctors, twice. I finally found someone who really gets my migraines and pays attention to how I respond to treatments, instead of just throwing pills at me.

I finally have hope. Although my doctor did say that I will be chronically ill the rest of my life, she does think she can significantly reduce the number of migraine attacks I get, to the point that I'll be able to work a day job again. Fingers crossed!

Writing Changes:

In a broad sense, I learned that even when you think something is as polished as it can be, it still needs work. This applies to every manuscript I've worked on since last June.

I learned, from a rejected full request, that my old manuscript (we'll call it MS #5) had weaknesses AND strengths that I wasn't aware of. I'm so grateful for the detailed feedback I received. I shelved MS #5, but kept in mind what worked and what didn't.

I wrote, edited, and had MS #9 critiqued a bunch of times. I thought it was good to go. Nope, it still needed work. So I revised and revised. Meanwhile, my recently finished MS #11 is in the roughest of rough drafts, and I'm completely aware of how much work will need to go into this one.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I thought my crappy drafts were fantastic. I just... missed a lot of things. Critique partners are gold, and I realize I like having a lot of them (at least 4) to really see all angles of my manuscripts.


I think the big picture message here is that I can't see everything from where I am right now. On last year's birthday, I wouldn't have been able to predict everything I learned this year. But time and hard work (writing and revising, as well as trying medical treatment after treatment) might help me get where I want to be.

Sorry for the long post, friends. Hoping it makes up for hardly being around lately. I'll be visiting blogs this week, but feel free to drop a comment to remind me to check yours out.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shelley - Happy Birthdays - Mondays are never easy .. birthday ones well ... it depends. Celebrate yesterday in preparation .. practise for your birthday today, celebrate today and forget you celebrated already and go out again at the weekend ...

I hope the migraines can be eased for you and you have a better year/years ahead .. enjoy the birthday times .. Hilary

Tiana Smith said...

Happy birthday!! I'm glad you've found a doctor you can trust - that's always hard for me.

Anonymous said...

Shelley, happy birthday (again). :)

I am impressed that you have written so many manuscripts. Hang in there. Your hard work is bound to pay off.

Get some rest on your special day.

Amy Jarecki said...

Happy Birthday, Shelley. Remember, it's the journey. I'm presently working on MS #10. I get better with each one...and one day...

Carolyn V said...

Happy birthday Shelley!!!! I really hope this year brings you health and writing success!!! <3

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! It sounds like you have had quite a year. I hope that you get to feeling better. The best part of being a writer is that no matter what it will never be enough. You will constantly revise all of your work over and over again.

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Caryn Caldwell said...

I agree. Critique partners are an amazing resource! And even then it's still easy to miss things. But I bet your writing is SO good with all that practice! May this next year bring wonderful successes, both with your writing and with your health.

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