Don't Give up on Your Rough Drafts
Over 10 years ago, I was taking a journal writing workshop through the community center in Mesa, AZ. We were asked to write a "Name Story"--what our names meant to us, what changes our names have been through, that kind of thing.
My first idea, the obvious--nobody knows how to pronounce Haapala (I actually wrote about this in "Finding Common Ground" for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles).
As I wrote out some ideas, I started humming a song. Of course. My name story had to be about the song that carried my name: Tina Marie '73. My dad had written and recorded it and sent a cassette tape to me in Arizona. I wrote a page for the next workshop. In that page, I talked a little about my parents divorce, a little about being a bratty teenager, a little about music. In the workshop, I played the song to tell the rest of my Name Story.
And then, for a few years, I put that page away.
It resurfaced when I moved to Texas. I decided to send it along with a Father's Day card when that day rolled around. Words, like music, can make a heart dance if set to the right beat. I was glad I finally shared.
A while later, when I started submitting my writing, I rewrote that story. I submitted it a few places and was turned down. I took another look at it when I saw that Chicken Soup for the Soul was looking for stories about Dads. I edited again, and sent it.
I had all but forgotten about it when I got the email about being a finalist. (Well, it was on my spreadsheet--you know the one you should have that lists all of the places you submit to--it just had taken longer than the others, so I assumed it wasn't being used.)
So, if you get a chance to read "Melody of the Heart", remember that it started as some scribbles years ago, and now it's published.
That "rough stuff" really can turn bright and shiny after a while!
Do you have a piece that you have given up on? How do you decide if it is worth another try? Or does the piece decide for you?