Someone asked me a brilliant question. Something I have never been asked. Here's what she said:
So you got started by writing an hour a day? What made you continue when you reread what you had written and you felt like a talentless hack? I want so badly to write all of these stories in my head, but I feel like I can't do them justice and so I don't write very often because I'm so afraid of it turning out horribly.
This really hit home, guys! I could have written this very same question to an author seven years ago. So brace yourselves for my bitter truth.
(WARNING: If you think becoming a published author is easy and you don't want your hopes and dreams taking a reality check, don't read on!)
The first book I wrote took me almost a year to complete. It was 700 pages, a terrific story with beautiful characters, and an absolute prose NIGHTMARE! In fact, it was so poorly written, when I tried to start editing, I gave up on it completely and stuck it on my Shelf of Things Best Forgotten (right beside my dreams of being a musician, famous inventor, and doctor).
I wrote another book, much shorter... about 300 pages. Again, a great story, great characters, slightly better writing. I polished it, wrote up a horrible query letter, and started querying while penning part two. That book went nowhere. I racked up about fifty rejections over a year and then stuck it on the The Shelf, along with book two.
So with three shelved manuscripts under my belt, I did what any sane person who discovered the relentless drive to write would do... the inevitable. I wrote a forth manuscript. I wrote a decent query. I queried agents. And I got rejection after rejection after rejection after...
The only thing that made the rejections not sting as badly was writing. So I started manuscript #5. As I wrote this manuscript, I laughed, I cried, I'd stay up half the night with my heart pounding, jumping at the smallest sounds as I wrote terrifying scenes, and knew what I was writing was magic. And it was. Still is. But it was magic that had to be edited and edited and edited until it was good enough to get me a fantastic agent (thanks Marlene!), and an amazing publisher willing to take a chance on me (thanks Walker!).
Let's jump to today. I wrote for years, wrote thousands of pages to get where I am, spent days, hours, weeks, months, years in front of the computer honing my skill. And if I hadn't...
THERE IS NO WAY I WOULD SURVIVE IN THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD OF WRITING!
It doesn't get any easier! I still work until I can't see straight, the only difference between now and then is now I write better, faster. If I didn't, if I hadn't "practiced" for all those years, there's no way I'd survive the publishing world.
So enjoy every second of your journey. Embrace the editing process and what you learn from it. And most of all,
Never. Give. UP!