Adventure Awaits (Not For The Faint-Hearted)

9 Jul

I used to consider myself adventurous. I always said I “would” do anything, “would” go anywhere, “would” write a novel by myself, “would” jump out of an airplane, etc., etc. Key word there: “would.”

One day I realized I “wasn’t” doing much of anything out of the ordinary. I had all these great ideas for books, but they were getting dusty in the attic of my mind. I had everything I wanted – good job, family, house – but still not completely fulfilled.

Until I released the inner artist and started taking risks.

Not the “I’m-going-to-risk-bodily-harm” type of risks, but the kind that open a person up to criticism, rejection, and the uncertainties of the world. The kind where you know nothing is ever “good enough” and the only way to ensure it gets better is to realize you’re never really finished learning about your art.

I did something recently I thought I never could – I wrote and finished a novel. At the time, I knew I needed to revise the book. No problem, I thought. Just a read-through and a few tweaks and we’re good to go.

Nope.

I started adventuring out, reading agent and editor blogs, tweets, guidelines—you name it—and was almost overwhelmed at the things you’re expected to know when writing and submitting a novel. Things I thought I knew became things that were “okay yesterday but now it’s done this way.” Research became my obsession. I joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and even attended the conference here in Orlando, FL, to learn more about writing for young adults. And I was surprised to find I actually retained the information and was able to apply it to my writing. 

The funniest part was when I tried to tell my ten-year-old son about how I figured out I needed to do less narrating, more showing, and he said, “oh, you mean ‘show, don’t tell?’”

Exactly. Even he gets it.

All in all, it’s been a roller coaster of learning, honing, sharing and networking. The result? Hopefully a more polished and perfected manuscript. I can see the difference now, too, as I write my next book. I’m happy to say that at least I’ve turned “would” into “am.”

The adventure continues…

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4 Responses to “Adventure Awaits (Not For The Faint-Hearted)”

  1. becca puglisi July 10, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    Finishing the book is such a rush, isn’t it? Until you realize that it’s never really finished, lol. Good for you! And Bravo for moving forward with the next project. Best of luck to you!

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

  2. Joe Iriarte July 10, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    I love this sentence: “The kind [of risks] where you know nothing is ever ‘good enough’ and the only way to ensure it gets better is to realize you’re never really finished learning about your art.”

    A thousand times yes. Write on! 🙂

  3. ticklingthemuse July 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    Thanks! Here’s to never finishing the learning process! Ever!

  4. followingthemuse July 12, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    WOW!

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