It’s never a fun experience to be humbled, but I think it’s something we all need from time to time. We may embark on some journey into a new area or skill and think we are making great progress and strides far greater than we could have hoped for. It’s at that time that we produce what we thing is good stuff to wow and impress just to have the feedback be positive, but also to remind us that we are not nearly as good as we think we are.
And by “we” I mean “I”.
I’ve made it a point lately to submit some pieces in for some online writing contests. There hasn’t been anything too taxing as far as word count. I’m not nearly ready to do anything with my book yet, but surely I could churn out some short stories of 1500 words, or maybe even 7000 words. I mean, come on, when you just start writing it flows out and you have your words, right? Well, yeah, but are they any good?
Feedback I’ve received from the stories so far have been generally good but they show me there is room for improvement. Lots of room. I’m not sure what I was expecting really. I don’t think I would be hailed as the next great American writer. I do need to cut myself a little slack. I just started writing period in September, and really only writing prose fiction since November. The story ideas have been good and the characters interesting, I just need to work on technique.
So, I resolve to plug away. I pulled out my first revision of my book again and took a look at chapter one. It’s still out to beta readers so I didn’t want to do too much, but just to see what I thought now that it’s been a few weeks. Again, there is room for improvement. Not bad, just needing to clean things up as far as verb tenses and flesh some stuff out some more. I find I get in a rush when I try to proofread my stuff and I skip a lot. I’m a little impatient here. Part of my brain just wants the thing to be done now and to hurry up and get on with it. It’s something I’m working on.
There is a local writing group that meets at the library every month. With the holiday this past weekend it looks like they will wait till February until they come back. I got the prompt from the group leader so I can have something written for the meeting. I figure plugging in with a group of other people writing would help. It couldn’t hurt, right? They meet every third Tuesday of the month. I still don’t have a straight up writing partner; someone to send stuff to on a more regular basis. Maybe once a week? I figure that person will present themselves when it’s time. I don’t really know anyone well enough who also writes to ask yet.