Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stages of a New Writer

I don't know if every writer goes through the stages, but these are mine.
  1. Wannabe writer: It's a dream, but nothing more. No real effort it put into writing.
  2. OMG! I can write!: You've actually written something, and you're amazed that you've done it. It's got a plot, and it's book-length. Wow!
  3. ...this is it?: You're a bit shocked that you're not making JK Rowling's salary yet. You wrote a darn book, where's the film rights and huge advance?!
  4.'ll take more work than that: You realize your first book isn't perfect, even after revisions. You put it gently under the bed and start over, really working on craft.
  5. Yes! I'm a good writer!: You've actually written a decent novel. It's probably your sentimental novel, but at least you wrote something decent.
  6.'s still not good enough?: You realize that just because you wrote a decent novel, that doesn't automatically mean fame and fortune.
  7. Publishing learner: You read blogs, websites, and books on how to get published. You learn about the staggeringly small percentage of writers who get published.
  8. Drink: Gin comes in here. Lots and lots of gin. (Or something...some "excuse" comes up that makes you put writing in the background, and even if you say you've got to do X instead of writing, you know in your heart you're just avoiding writing because it makes you a little sad.)
  9. Persistent submitter: You start the long haul. You query. You curse. You drink more, but you still keep querying.
  10. Defeat of the sentimental novel: You realize that it's not them, it's you. You're too close to your novel. You realize it's good, but it's not good enough. Repeat step 8.
  11. Determined writer: If you ever get past steps 8-10, then you become a Determined Writer--you keep writing, knowing the odds, knowing that steps 8-10 might be repeated.
  12. Professional writer: You join critique groups, focus not just on "tips to getting published" but on "tips to being a better writer." You edit before submissions. You realize that writing towards publication is a business, and you treat it as such, as much as possible.
Right now, I'm at stage 12. I'm hoping lucky 13 is publication!
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