Sunday, March 21, 2010

You've Come a Long Way Baby

Whoever coined the term, “Practice makes perfect” was a wise person. In fact, I never appreciated the importance of these three words until the other day when the spring cleaning bug bit me. As an individual who leaves no dustbunny unturned, I decided to begin my journey to “Tidydom” with a cabinet crammed full of old papers and keepsakes.

What I found brought me several moments of nostalgia, followed by an unexpected jolt of panic.  Tucked away in a dark corner of the shelf was my nineteen- year- old son’s second grade science project, my seventeen- year- old son’s fifth grade report card , some of my nine- year- old son’s Thomas the Train drawings and a tattered Indiana Jones whip.  Where did the time go?  Two of my three babies had somehow tranformed into independent young men.  Now all I had to remind me of their childhood was a few lonely mementos.

Among these long forgotten treasures was a folder containing several pieces I had written eons ago. As I sifted through the slush pile, I came across my first novel which I am embarrassed to admit, was composed by an author with limited skills. In three pages I had covered more than a ten year span and bombarded the reader with a plethora of information.

After wading through pages of drivel,  a rush of fear consumed me. I wondered, Am I still that bad and just don’t know it??? An entire can of chocolate almonds later, my husband came home to find me hugging the empty container while laying in the fetal position chanting, “Redrum, Redrum.” Okay, so maybe the “Redrum” part is a stretch, but it  makes for a good story (:

Needless to say, it did not take my husband long to realize something was off. I approached him about my thoughts and he assured me my writing was light years from my first manuscript. Then he told me something which should have been obvious, yet eluded me all this time, “Andrea!” He said, “You are living proof that practice makes perfect. You have hatched from a fledgling author to a mature, strong story teller. Don’t give up now that you are so close to achieving your goals. “ He continued by dragging out some freelance articles which I had been solicited to write and had since published. Pointing out that local magazines and newspapers would never have hired me if I was an unskilled writer.

Like it or not, he had a point.  I compared and contrasted some of my old work to my newer pieces and there in front of me was proof, practice does make perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming my writing is flawless, quite the contrary, perfection is something I strive for everyday and will never achieve.  Yet, I think it is safe to say I have come a long way.

While I still yearn for the validation which publication will bring to me and my novel,  I have learned that I must first believe in myself before asking another person to take a chance on me.  From now on no looking back on the writer I was, instead, I will look forward to the writer I will become.  Have any of you ever had a similar revelation? If so, I would be interested to know more about it.

Until next time, happy writing.