As I go further and further with my writing career–yes I know I have only taken some tiny baby steps with it–I realize how important each step is.
For a newbie writer just having ideas and characters is a big deal. I’m sure that all of us writers and artists have pages an files filled with odds and ends that we start but never seem to finish. But it leads us to the next step.
The next big accomplishment is just completing a story. I’ve looked back on some of my oldest work and cringed, but I can still feel that lingering sense of pride at actually writing 5,000 words for the first time.
But what happens after you write a few? That is when the next step comes into play. Letting others read your work. I don’t think this nervousness ever goes away. Whether is is your friends, your beta readers or sending out a submission, a writer wants people to like their work. That first round of feedback from your first audience is critical in a lot of ways. It means you are ready for criticism.
Criticism isn’t always bad. Sometimes it hurts, other times it makes you think. Either way it is the first really big step to making it as a writer. This is where we start making steps to improve. We look at what we wrote and the comments given and start to put things together. A lot of times it is like taking a puzzle apart, slicing out pieces and then adding more.
Editing your work is hard, no matter who you are. There are pieces of the story you don’t want to change, even if others point out valid issues. When you read your work, you can point out that some things just aren’t quite right. You put in some extra hours going back over college grammar books just so you can learn to properly use a semicolon.
When someone else hands over their work, you gingerly read it, make a few notes and send it back. But as you get comfortable with your writing and making comments on other people’s writing, you realize you know what you are doing – at least for the most part. You still have to look up the rules for emdashes.
That is when you look back on how far you have traveled. From those first ideas to actually getting something published but you know there is a long way to go yet.