I’ve made mistakes. I’m sure I have. There is no question in my mind, my first manuscript is littered with them. But, I don’t know what they are…yet. Because I haven’t gotten over the hurdles that are simply part of the process. To answer the question, “How have I grown as a writer?” the answer is, “I’m not so sure on my actual writing but my habits are what I’ve learned that make a big difference.”
I’m my own worst enemy. I can re-outline, rewrite, re-evaluate, re-plan, rewrite again, re-research, and then rewrite again. I can send out to beta readers, I can stare at the same page for hours, I can find excuses not to write or approach my own self made impending doom and edit more.
I guess you can say when it comes to writing, the biggest asshole is me. I create my own grief to achieve a “possible” reward that even I’m pessimistic in obtaining. I’ve got a manuscript I think is a little too short, a story that may be slightly too dull, and a rejection list that is a bit too “Thanks but, no thanks.”
Where then, have I grown as a writer?
I look at my peers and the success they achieved through hard work.
I look at my finished manuscript.
I look at my beta readers who say “Yes! Keep going!”
I look at how I typed “thing” instead of “think” for the millionth time.
I look at my list of agents who I’ve submitted to.
And I look at the uphill battle of coming up with a concept, executing the concept to a manuscript, smashing that lump of coal to a pawn shop diamond with editing, and submitting to agents while all the giant ass boulders of self doubt come rolling down to knock me off my little Writing Goals Hill, to which say…
There will always be room for improvement. Always. And I accept this first manuscript might not make it anywhere. I’m actually okay with that. This is why I’m now working on a second. I’m going to keep practicing, learning, growing, and one day I’ll hopefully reach my goals of being published. Until then, it really doesn’t matter. I know, now, that I can write a novel and if I can do it once, I can do it again and again and again. Even if no one but my beta readers read them. It doesn’t really matter to me.
Because right or wrong. I’m happy when I’m writing. No one is obligated to enjoy my work, it’s my work and it makes me happy. Now I can tell my asshole self to shut the hell up but, published or not, I’ve been able to do something extraordinary. I’m now not afraid of writing but, really rather proud of it. This is how I’ve grown as a writer.
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