This was the blog I intended to write until I forgot what I wanted to write about. Sigh.
Last week I received a questionnaire with the question, "What's the one thing you wish you had known before you began writing?"
In all honesty, I can't answer the question. I thought about it for days, but I can't say that there's anything I wish I had known.
If I had known that sometimes it takes a decade--or more--to sell a novel, I may never have tried.
If I had known that most unpublished writers never sell, I may have stopped after my ninety-seventh rejection.
If I had known about Brenda Hiatt's "Show Me The Money" page, I may never have dreamed I could quit my day job.
If I had known the second book was often harder to sell than the first, I may never have started that second book . . . or wrote the five it took to sell.
I learned so much through RWA which I will forever be grateful for. How to write a query. How to research agents. What POV actually meant. Writers--published authors--answered my questions with generosity of spirit and kindness.
But I take each of my failures and learn from them. I can't honestly say I'd be where I am today if I didn't stumble along the path. Had I known what POV was before I started writing, would I be as conscious of its importance today? Had I known that big agencies rarely take on unpublished, unknown authors, would I have even queried one of the biggest?
I've always learned by example, by mistakes, by successes.
Maybe there are some things I wish I had known . . . that every writer's path to publication is different, that some of the biggest writers today had been rejected in the past, and that there really are no shortcuts. We write because we have to. And if it had taken me ten years, I would still be writing. The one thing I have learned is that those who give up will never be published. So never give up. To paraphrase Tess Gerritsen, the fairies are out there sprinkling their magic dust . . . but if you give up, they'll never find you.
So forget the rules and write. Practice. Create that good book. And dream. Because for all of us, it begins with the dream.