As a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (don’t get excited, it doesn’t mean I’m awesome. All it means is that I had enough spare change to cobble together the membership dues) I get to attend a seminar once per month. The seminars vary in topic. Sometimes they cover the mechanics of good writing and at other times they instruct you in the mechanics of being a writer.
Last night’s seminar was on conflict. Conflict, drama, and why you need these things (in this way, Jennifer Lancaster is correct in her assertion that the Real Housewives can be educational). As I sat there, I couldn’t help but feel the way I always do at these things: Absolutely certain in my conviction that I still have so much to learn about writing.
There are tired old writing cliches that I still haven’t even heard yet. Sometimes people edit my writing and tell me I’m doing stuff like “comma splices” and then I have to look up what those are so I know whether or not I should be doing them.
This is a good thing. It’s a good thing to have room to learn and grow. If I am the best I’m ever going to be at age 26, that doesn’t give me much to look forward to for the next sixty years, does it?
Of course, I can’t help but think about how this applies to my imminently-published-book. When I first announced that PWNED was coming out, a friend of mine, in the interest of being a good friend, asked me if it was ready. If it was the best it could possibly be.
At the time I answered yes, because I thought (and still think) that it’s a great story. Now, though, I’m inclined to think it’s not the best it could possibly be.
The reason being that I’m not as good at writing as I will ever be. I could keep every book I write cloistered on my computer for decades, and just work through them with a fine-toothed comb every time I learn a new technique. I could spend my entire life re-writing and revising them, convinced they’re not ready because of my fear of what I don’t know.
I’m not interested in doing that.
This is me fully admitting that I’m a writing noob. PWNED is not the Great American Novel, and I fully admit to having room to learn and grow.
What I also fully admit to is loving the story, the characters, and the plot. I had so much fun writing this book, and it shows. I’m steeling myself for the inevitable bad reviews on the horizon (because trolls are everywhere and I’d be foolish to think they’ll ignore me) but I’m also just really excited to share the story with whoever is interested in reading it.
Life is a dish best served with panache, and in the immortal words of Chuck Palahniuk, “I don’t want to die without any scars.” You’d be surprised by how many of my life’s idioms I crib from Mr. Palahniuk.