What has been the most unexpected part of your writing journey up to this point? What has happened that you could never have expected? Has it been a help or a hindrance?
I say this question is challenging because I'm at a different point in the writing journey than so many others on the chain. There are some who are querying, some who have been literally been writing for years, and some who are experiencing the joys of publishing bliss (or even multiple book bliss). Me, I'm still working on getting an entire story written all the way to final draft.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this as a denigration of self. I'm proud of the fact that I've stuck it out this long. But where I'm at in the journey does make me think when it comes to questions like this. And that's not a bad thing.
Probably the most unexpected aspect of writing for me has been finding humility and pride, one right after the other. When I first started writing, I jumped on the awesome writer train as I cranked out my first book. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I assumed because friends and family were lauding my mad writing skills that obviously I was awesome. Then I asked somebody to help critique it, figuring I'd tweak things a bit and be ready for querying. The returned copy was less than flattering - but it was honest.
After picking myself up off the floor (figuratively anyway), I realized I wasn't this instantly awesome writer and I needed to stay grounded as I learn. Then I took a writing class, learned a bunch, listened to all of you, and I was able to be proud of what I write. Sure, it's not perfect. But it is better than when I started.
I'm usually pretty hard on myself, particularly with regards to areas of my life that I care a lot about. I agonize all the time over mistakes I might be making as a Dad. I worry that I'm not doing enough for my wife. And I used to beat myself up all the time over my writing. I'm getting better at being proud of what I write, of acknowledging when I write well. I remind myself of the awesome writer train mistake constantly, but I also remind myself to have some pride. It's an odd feeling, this balancing act between humility and egotism. But it allows me to keep going, to keep writing.
Yesterday Michelle Hickman put up a great post on the subject that you have to check out. And tomorrow you can look forward to hearing from Michelle McLean. Both are awesome writers, so make sure you check them out.
And what has happened to you that you didn't expect while making your way through this writing journey?