So, Olympic fever has well and truly gripped the nation. Did you watch the opening ceremony? I saw the highlights. I have to say, as impressive as it looked, I tend to lean towards the view that £27m is a little excessive, especially in these hard times. However, I enjoyed the Red Arrows flypast and I delighted in seeing Her Majesty with Mr Bond. In fact, it cheered me up after a week in which I had a few mishaps.

I'm something of a clumsy clot, so I'll spare you the list of weekly antics. However, the one that really had me pulling my hair out in frustration, was when I accidentally deleted a 52,000 word manuscript. Yes, fellow writers, I can hear your moans and gasps at this revelation.

I'm not sure what happened. My fingers must have clicked on a shortcut key and it wiped my document. When I clicked to leave, knowing I could just go back, I accidentally told the pc to save the changes instead of just coming out of it and then going to the last save. Duh!!!

Now, I know there will be those of you who will say that it's my fault for not saving the document and backing it up in the first place. Well, I do save. I always save my documents on my pc and on a spare usb stick, as well as my working usb. Unfortunately, whislt I save as I go along, I only back up the document at the end of the day. Big mistake, as I have learned. 

When I'd done punching the wall and screaming at my faultless pc, and pacing the floor, I took a deep breath and tried to fix my blunder. Basically, this entailed trying to remember my edits, as well as going back over the last red inked, editted copy, in a bid to redo the chapter I'd not saved. 

It cost me a couple of hours of my time that I could have better spent elsewhere. Or could it? A friend suggested that perhaps this was Fate's way of saying that those edits I'd lost weren't up to scratch. What if the new edits (because I couldn't remember the ones lost), are better?


I have to say, I hadn't looked at it from that point of view. On saying that, this particular friend subscribes to the, "every cloud has a silver lining", pick yourself up, dust yourself off and look for the good in the bad, newsletter.

So, I ask you, how precious are you with your writing? I have to confess, I used to be terrible. I hated criticism, I hated to cut out chunks of my work (even when I knew that they were extraneous to plot etc). Now, I have learned the error of my ways and have swallowed my pride. 

None of us like criticism, and it has been quite painful highlighting certain passages and condemning them to the recycle bin, when I have considered them to be especially well written (in my opinion). However, it has to be done.

The above makes me sound quite pompous, I'm sure. Well, in my defence, it took me several years before I even plucked up the courage to submit anything - novels or short stories. Why? Hmm, lack of confidence played a key role. However, primarily, I think it's the fear of failure and not wanting to have my words ripped to shreds.

Now, I look back and think of all the missed opportunities. Like my friend says, there is always something good in something bad. I'm not sure I hold to that opinion about everyting, but when it comes to my work...

A good example was a short story I wrote for a competition. You had to write a ghost story. I struggle with these and eventually submitted a story about a cot death. The story was told from the viewpoint of the baby's dead father. I wasn't overly impressed with it, but submitted it anyway, knowing I'd done my best. It placed second. I was chuffed to bits. Furthermore, the judge's critique offered an interpretation of the story that I hadn't considered. That gave me an idea for a future project.

So, you never know. However bad you think your day i, however disappointed you are in your days work, it really pays to remind yourself that everything is a learning curve....and material for your next masterpiece.

Bring on the next Calamity!!

7/29/2012 10:31:41 am

The pieces of my writing that were critiqued the most, was where I also learned the most. Confidence is so important for a writer. Even when my work is ripped to shreds, I try to keep a stiff upper lip and search for how I can make it better.

Jayne Sykes
7/29/2012 01:53:29 pm

I have to agree. I am my own worst critic. I do try to be level-headed though. The critique has to be constructive. Just someone saying they don't like it isn't enough. That's just down to taste, unless they say why they didn't like it (e.g. repetition or couldn't relate to a character).

7/30/2012 02:28:15 am

Have you considered writing horror? That line about deleting a 52,000 word manuscript sent chills down my spine. It may give me nightmares for weeks. Excuse me while I go move some files to my "usb stick thingy."

10/21/2013 03:58:21 am

Anyone know where I can find more information?

Jayne Sykes
10/21/2013 01:44:49 pm

HI, rubyredvelvet. What info are you looking for?


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