5 Lessons From My First Year

It’s been a little more than a year since I started this writing blog. Have I learned anything? Yup.

  1. Writing a 50k, episodic story is not the same as writing a novel. There are additional things, writerly things, to consider such as character arc and cause-and-effect scene structure and style stuff and grammar thingamabobs. Last year’s 50k Nano project is sitting in a drawer. Even if it never sees the light of day, the time I spent on it wasn’t wasted because I learned a lot and gained confidence from the writing process.
  2. Starting out, I did not know what I didn’t know. Now I know I still have much to learn! Hope springs eternal, so I soldier on . . .
  3. Other people’s eyes are super helpful. I’m grateful to people who have read my writing and given me feedback.
  4. I don’t need to study the craft or to learn by writing. I need to do both.
  5. It’s useful to read recently published, successful debut novels.

And those are my big five from this past year.:-)

I’m typing this in the middle of November. If you’re Nano-ing, you’re at the halfway point. Hang in there!

Feature image by Skyla Design on Unsplash.

41 thoughts on “5 Lessons From My First Year

  1. That’s a good list. Number 3 is a must. Feedback is important – though it’s not enough for someone to say they like it or they don’t, without qualifying either statement. There’s a knack to saying something positive about a piece of writing you didn’t like – none at all to dismissing it out of hand. I’ve been lucky with my monthly writing group (mostly) who somehow manage to find things in my writing that I’m not conscious of. Even if someone just picks up on a typo, it’s helpful.

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  2. Happy anniversary Priscilla! I agree that getting feedback is very helpful. I’ve received some good comments from others about my writing that it encouraged me to keep on going. It’s important to get away from the desk and meet other writers. Hitting the middle of NaNoWriMo can be tricky. Good luck! 🙂

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    1. I agree! Also, I heard somewhere years ago that if you’re not learning, you’re not growing, and if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Wouldn’t it be grand if we lived and grew until our final moments? Thanks for commenting, Julia.:-)


    1. Thanks, Tammy. Haha, I already failed because I finished, but my story came up short. Maybe in the next draft (January, I’m guessing) the story will get some more meat on its bones. I’m spending the rest of November on edits on my last novel, just to make it FEEL like I’m still Nano-ing.:-) I’m glad you commented!


  3. Great advice and insights. The issue of debut novels is a complicated one, as many authors might have written many books before one is published (that goes mostly for traditionally published authors, but it also applies to some self-published authors, who might work for many years until they decide something is ready), but it is an interesting suggestion. Thanks, Priscilla and good luck.

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  4. I have been writing professionally (paid) for over 58 years and I am learning every single day. Writing is an evolutionary art. Keep the left foot ahead of the right and the nouns ahead of the verbs. You’re doing great!

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  5. Couldn’t agree more with you Pri! That’s why this year I decided to plot my NaNo project so I could pay attention to all the elements of the novel as well. I took my time to develop the characters and to plot each of their story arcs. My first project was a mess but as you said I’m trying to see it as a learning experience. Yes, we got to read (both, novel and about the craft) and write. Both equally important. I love love love your “I soldier on ”
    That’s it. read, write and soldier on!

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  6. You never learn everything about writing. It’s a world that’s too big for that. You just keep on learning as you go and improving. Until you go crazy. And then they lock you up. The good news is they let out eventually and then you really have fun writing!

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