Its been a long year, and frankly I'm glad to see it leaving us in peace. Despite the challenges I've faced, I can rejoice in many learning experiences, as well as the formation of many new friendships. Having said all that, I'll get to the good stuff and share with you the top ten things I learned about writing over the past year.
1. If you tell someone you're a writer, they will ask you what you've written that they might have read or heard of. I find this interesting on several levels. First, because many people assume that your writing is either meaningful or worthless based on your response. Second, because the odds that the average person has come in contact with any one book or magazine article are fairly slim. Consider Amazon.com- according to Wikipedia, there are currently about 250,000 books on the site. The Washington Post has reported that about 1/4 of the population actually doesn't pick up a single book in an entire year; the rest read about 9 novels per year. Even if they read 9 books per year for 65 years, that means they'd only read 0.234% of the books available on Amazon.com. This tends to give an overwhelming portion of the population the impression that writing, on the whole, is worthless.
2. I don't care. I don't write to get the approval of others; I do it because I just can't help myself. I find fulfillment in providing reading material that others enjoy, pride in knowing that I might have given someone a new perspective on a topic. So, if no one ever reads anything I write, that is okay- I'm still going to write it anyway.
3. Writing can pay the bills, but it requires an overwhelming amount of work. There are no easy, eight hour days and, when a deadline is looming, the words you need are most likely to fail you.
4. No amount of notebooks or computer programs can organize my notes.
5. Outlines are great I particularly like the sound they make as I move them to the recycling bin.
6. Editing and Revisions never end. Never. Its very much like the Henry the 8th song. Second verse, same as the first.
7. Proofing is best done 1 to 2 years after a story is completed. Five to ten years might work even better, as the content is sure to be long forgotten by then, but that wouldn't allow for the next five rounds of proofing you'll be going through. Ah, the dangling particle of it all!
8. It's way too easy to slip into a rhythm, formatting all your sentences exactly the same. You, of course, will never notice you've done this, but will be appalled when someone points it out to you in a very public manner.
9. I enjoy writing things I hadn't expected to enjoy. Like flash and micro fiction and even children's stories.
10. I love the Kindle and I'm thrilled to be learning how to format writing for it.
And that, my friends, is what I learned about writing over the past 12 months.