Monday, December 28, 2009

Lessons Learned

Some of the best gifts I received this year didn't come wrapped up at my birthday or during the holidays.  As another productive writing year draws to an end, I've compiled a list of all the valuable things I learned about writing and publication.  Some, I've known all along and just needed them etched into my brain, and others were like a brilliant light bulb being turned on for the first time.

1. Writing Is The Easy Part.  I never thought I'd say this, especially after agonizing over characters, descriptions, passive voice, dialogue, tension, etc. for so long, but it's absolutely true.  If you have characters and a setting you love and know well, the writing flows freely.  Nothing quite like shutting yourself away for a few hours in a world of your own making.  And after all that, you get the chance to shape your writing into something than someone other than you or a dear, patient friend or family member would find coherent, and actually want to read.

2. No Matter How Many Times You've Edited or Revised, You Will Always Miss Something. Whether it's a missing word, misspelled words, repeated words, or just plainly and simply, the wrong word, when another would be so much better, there's always something that needs just a little tweaking. Accept it, get over it, and fix it, before submitting.

3. Publishing Is The Hard Part.  Getting the story, setting and characters that live only inside your head onto paper or the computer screen is great, but getting agents who believe in you and the story, editors to acquire your work and critics who love the book, too, is even better.  But it's still hard, with smaller advances being offered and publishers hesitant to take on new writers while hoping their current stable of authors keep the revenue flowing, which led me to my next realization.
4. Publishing Is A Business.  Don't Take It Personal. Repeat as needed: Publishers are in business to make money.      

5. Writers' Conferences Are Invaluable.  I've enjoyed every conference I've attended, simply because there's no better networking opportunity, with the chance to connect with top agents and editors, and fellow writers, sharing interests and goals.           

6. Friends Are Even More Invaluable, Especially If They're Also Writers.  And if they're writer friends in a critique group, who share your interests and provide comments and feedback you can rely on, WOO!  In the lonely world of writing, a network of support is critical for celebrating successes, easing disappointments, encouraging goals, sustaining your sanity and keeping you grounded.  Or, for when you just want to stop talking about the woes of writing for a while and hang out, have dinner and see a movie, or catch up on all the really important stuff you missed while you were glued to your writing.  So, thank you to all my friends, the writers and non-writers, who've known all my quirks and faults, but still stick by me.  Wishing all of you the best in 2010!

So, what did you learn this year?


N. Gemini Sasson said...

Lisa, I couldn't have put it any better. And what did I learn? Pretty much the same as you.

Anita Davison said...

I second that Gemi. I thought I had a fair idea what being a novelist was about, only to find out I had to accept these things too. Now if I couldmake that a positive thing!

thewriterssaga said...

Girl, if writing's the easy part, I'm going to be nearly DEAD by the time I get through all the rest. LOL!!! Anyhoos, I'm keeping my eyes on the PRIZE in 2010 - publishing, that is.... you too, ya hear???

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