In one of my writing groups, a newer writer has decided that she was going to write a blog about all the things that she's learned while writing her first novel. And she asked what some of the other things are that the rest of us have learned throughout our writing careers.
Well, I have to admit that I've learned so much over the years. But there is a list of things that I wish I knew when I started.
So… Here goes.
- I wish I knew that even after editing, my first novel would not be anywhere near ready for publication. (Thankfully, because of other choices made back in the day, that novel is still sitting in the metaphorical drawer. I will go back to it one day, because I still love the characters and the world.)
- I wish I knew that when they were talking about editing, they were really meaning throw out everything that you wrote and start again. (That is a bit of an exaggeration, but I have actually had to do that for one manuscript.)
- I wish I knew that this was going to take YEARS!
- I wish I knew that it would be a massive emotional roller coaster that would threaten to dump me into the deepest pit of depression ever.
- But I wish I knew that writing would turn into such an obsession that the very thought of quitting (because of the emotional roller coaster that comes with really low lows) makes me physically ill. I can't NOT write!
- I wish I knew that the average wage for a novelist is not even enough to buy a cup of coffee. Forget paying for the mortgage.
- I wish I knew how isolating writing can be. It actually isolates you from your family and close friends (unless they're writers too, because only another writer understands the obsession).
- I wish I knew about the negative impacts that this career choice would have on my relationships.
- I wish I knew that to be a successful writer, you also need to be a successful marketer. (I hate marketing!)
And there are probably more things that I wish I knew. But at the end of the day, even if I could go back and change things, I wouldn't. Because the choices I made are what have put me where I am today.