Monday, April 13, 2009

Input, Input!

Do you remember the movie, "Short Circuit?" A robot escapes into the real world with his makers hot on his heels. In one scene, he goes into a bookstore (now you knew there had to be a bookstore in this post) and reads every book at lightning speed. He's hungry for knowledge, and retains it all.

Sometimes I feel like that robot. Reading blogs, craft books, websites, going to conferences, writers groups, and bookstores. Input, input! Whew, I'm exhausted. I begin to question. Am I retaining all this material? Is it making a difference in my writing?

In the midst of rejections and critiques, a letter stands out like a diamond among chunks of acceptance. Someone seeks me out and requests that I critique THEM! I look at my earlier work and see the growth. I guess all the input is paying off.

We don't always see our own progress. Maybe we can't absorb details as fast as the movie robot, but we learn line upon line, precept upon precept. It's in there, and one day we realize how far we've come.


Jessica Nelson said...

When I was a kid I loved that movie!

I definitely think the information begins to soak in so that it becomes second nature to us. When I write now, I'm usually conscious of character arc, strong verbs, hooks, etc. While I'm writing these things are in the back of my mind.
Kudos to you for keeping on learning!

Terri Tiffany said...

I like this perspective. I try to absorb as much information as I can so that my output is worthy. It does pay off and I'm glad it is for you!:))

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

A lot of times you don't think you're absorbing information, but it's in there.

The same thing holds true on a spiritual level. I've memorized scripture from when I was a child. I thought I'd forgotten a lot of it. At the most unexpected moments, one will pop up when I need it the most.

It's in there!

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

People sometimes get discouraged when they realize how much they need to learn. Reading and writing has helped me to not only latch onto new concepts, but retain them.

Susan :)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Susan, I definitely remember watching that movie as a kid, I just can't remember what it's about :) I think it's normal to wonder if all we're taking in really makes a difference in what we write. But, as you said, looking back over an old piece of work shows there is a difference. I did that recently and found so many things I would change and fix to make better. I think everything we take in stays in our minds and we do use that advice somewhere along the way.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

I can't tell you how often I've gone back to an article (sometimes published) and wished I could re-do it. LOL! The eternal editor.

Susan :)

quietspirit said...

You said: We don't always see our own progress.

This is so true. I feel I haven't done well in the writing realm or the spiritual one either and then something happens that seems to make the information come to the surface and I see it or others see it.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

I think we tend to be extra critical of ourselves. Writing is so subjective. What one editor loves another hates.

Continually learning and trusting the Lord are the two things that keep me from having a melt down.

Susan :)