One of the things that can be both intimidating and exciting about writing, is the sheer amount you must learn to have any hopes of success. At first you might think the challenge would lie only in the ‘getting published’ part. And you’re right, there are huge challenges a writer must face to get there. But it’s also the ‘trying to get there’ phase that can be just as difficult. Meaning, the phase when you’re trying to get to the point when you can try to get published. Got that? Good.
The thing about writing, is that it’s a tricky little bugger. Just when you think you’ve got something down, another issue pops up. After a recent critique, I was left feeling rather discouraged and overwhelmed. When times like that arise, I am faced with a choice. Disappointment or pride? Interesting choice isn’t it, let me explain. I can cross my arms on my chest, push my laptop away and pronounce, “Crap, I’m never going to get this right.” Or I can sit a little taller and say, “Wow, look how far I’ve come.” There are always things to learn in writing, always something that could better your craft. So when faced with the amount of work still ahead of me (that I thought was behind me!), I could easily be discouraged…or I can dive in head first, because look how much I have already accomplished!
I chose the latter. I took what was said about my work, sat back to take it all in, then got to work. I consulted my dear friend Google, who helped guide me through process of once again…learning. I’ve spent the last few days buried in research, forums, and links up the wazoo. And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve learned. I like learning, I like standing back and seeing the progress I've made. I like taking something I could be disappointed in and turning it into something I'm proud of. It's kind of fun to tell disappointment to kiss my grits!
The moral of the story, don’t feel discouraged, it’s ok if there is still more to learn or more work ahead. Sure it would be great if we were Gods of words, effortlessly putting them on pages with the grace of a dancer, and the grammar fairies sprinkled magical dust on your work and made it flawless. But where’s the challenge or fun in that? If you find yourself going over your third (fourth or fifth) draft, or struggling to get an agent, or pulling your hair out over your query letter and the sultry voice of disappointment is calling your name…don’t listen. You have already come farther than most. It’s a survival of the fittest world here my writing friends, and we are among the few to still be standing. If you made it this far, there’s no reason you can’t keep going. So be proud, and press on...