Today is July's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?
Worrying that my vacation this week isn't going to be long enough. So this month I'll settle for answering the question of the month.
What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?
That's a hard one for me. I've learned so much over the years, there are too many to choose from. Here's my short list:
1. One of my first lessons had to do with showing and telling. I had no clue what "telling" was back at the beginning, and it took me years of practice before I could recognize it with regularity. Yay! Then, after a couple of years, I learned it was possible to show too much and eased back on it a little.
2. I used to think mortals like me could never dream up enough words to fill a 300 page book. Now I've learned the importance of cutting back and tightening my writing so my stories don't balloon into magnum opuses.
3. I used to be so obsessed with the rules of writing that I put off finding a critique partner for years because I was positive they'd be horrified with all the rules I broke, many of them without realizing it. These days, I understand the rules are more like guidelines. Heck, sometimes I break the rules just to see how my critique partners react.
So when it comes down to it, I guess my most valuable lesson learned was the importance of having critique partners. With their guidance, my writing has grown tremendously over the years. If you don't have a critique partner yet, get one. Reading books on craft and attending conferences help, but nowhere near as much as having another set of eyes on your work. You don't know what you don't know.
If I had to do it all over again, I'd find a critique partner as soon as possible.
How about you? Are any of you still looking for critique partners?