Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Learning Curve

I watched a few minutes of a "Home Improvement" rerun last night. In this particular episode, Tim the Toolman was trying to write a book.

I can't remember the exact wording, but the gist was that he had x amount of hours and should be able to write x amount of pages per hour and be done with the whole book. (I think it was 4 hours, 100 pages per hour - a 400 page book finished - but am not sure.) All I know is, I laughed out loud and so did B. As if and I wish.

I have to admit when I started writing, I had many misconceptions. I knew nothing about genre, point of view, formatting - really anything. All I knew was that I had a story I needed to tell. So I wrote. Page upon page of extensive descriptions, paragraphs with four different points of view, I didn't have chapters - I didn't know how to do that.

And then I went to my first writer's group meeting. I was a newbie and it showed. That first meeting, I remember finding out how to format my pages. Astounding! Who would have guessed? I felt at home there - so I kept going back and kept learning. Then I joined a critique group. The thought of putting my work on the chopping block scared me to death. I sucked up my fear and sent the pages. When I got them back, I cried.

I thought about quitting, but obviously didn't. I fixed the pages. Then, I was ready to take the next step. The Query. I sent the letter and synopsis, disregarding the harsh fact that first novels rarely see publication. That didn't apply to me! The editor requested the full manuscript. Everyone was wrong, I just knew it.

Okay, so obviously, I had misconceptions. I still do. I'm well aware of it but that doesn't stop me from pushing forward. I think some misconceptions are good. Sort of the "Ignorance is Bliss" frame of mind and a definite bend in the learning curve. Would I have submitted that manuscript had I known of it's eventual rejection?

Now I'm at the point where I'm asking myself what the point of this post is? :)

The thing is, all of that is part of the learning process we take on when we decide to pursue publication. It's not instant and it's different for everyone. People tell you - but you can't believe until you've experienced the sting of multiple rejections or a sea of red on your polished pages after a critique round.

I've learned and am still learning. I now know the harsh facts of this business, but maybe I'm far enough on the learning curve to know that if I work hard enough the results I envision will become reality. I also know there's a chance it will never happen for me and that doesn't have anything to do with the quality of my writing. Is it going to change anything for me? No. Because it's there. Writing is part of my soul.

And yeah, I have a ton of misconceptions regarding actually being published. But I'll deal with those when I get there.


Natalie Damschroder said...

And yeah, I have a ton of misconceptions regarding actually being published. But I'll deal with those when I get there.

Just as long as you didn't get them from Cheaper By The Dozen...

Victoria said...

Dang, you mean I'm not going to instantly be famous? LOL

I forgot about that movie...yeah...

D.R. Grady said...

We all have writing misconceptions. I'm pretty sure I still do. Besides, your first book has come a long way! It's going to be published. Maybe just not the way you envisioned. That's okay...