Many years ago, a friend of mine and I attended wine tasting parties. I wanted to learn about wines, and these parties were a good way to find out which wines I liked and which I didn’t. It didn’t take long to realize I liked sweet white wines and disliked the mouth puckering tastes of reds. My friend explained that my palate was still immature, and that if I kept drinking wines, I’d eventually graduate past sweet whites and move on to the reds. I’ll never know if he was correct about that—I eventually stopped going to wine tastings and white wines are still my favorite—but I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t stopped. Would I have grown as a wine drinker?
I’ve flower gardened for many years, often planting over two dozen flats of annuals every spring, much to the dismay of my wife. She often hinted that I should add more perennials to the garden so I wouldn’t have to plant so many annuals, but I didn’t listen. I loved bright colors and I wanted as much of it as I could get over the summer. Perennials only bloom for about a month each summer, so I found them boring. Of course, whenever I read plant magazines, I’d read that annuals were for amateurs—that the real beauty was in perennials, and that real gardeners eventually learned to prefer them. I scoffed at this back then, but these day I find myself appreciating perennials more, and I’ve been adding them to the garden every year. My tastes have changed over time.
What does any of this have to do with writing?
Because they remind me of my writing journey. When I first began writing almost a decade ago, I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. I didn’t mind adverbs, or telling (vs showing), and generally felt that characters were something you randomly tossed into plot driven stories. But over the years I’ve grown as a writer, and the advice I scoffed at back them makes a lot more sense to me now. Who would have guessed?
This transition didn’t happen overnight—learning to do something well takes time—but I can look back now and appreciate the journey. And who knows what the future may bring? Perhaps I’ll even enjoy a red wine somewhere down the road, the day after I publish my first book.
Question: other than writing, what hobbies, interests, etc. have you changed your opinion on?