Few writers begin writing as children. Stephen King did, but he’s in a league of his own. Many begin to take writing serious later in life. One would think that a late start offers advantages such as life experiences, achieved successes, maturity and confidence.
Few writers create their finest work on the first piece they write. It takes time to develop this skill, time to establish a style, time to understand the process. It’s unrealistic to think that the first time you put words on a page it will be perfect – but we do.
There is a story in our head, we see it, we watch it play over and over, and we love our story. We know it will be a book and millions will love it as we do! Then we sit down and begin to write. When the first draft is finished we believe we have done our best work. In truth we have, but like a child who takes his first step, it isn’t the stable, balanced, and confident walking required to carry them through life.
Remember the early years? Remember when you were just starting out? Remember when we thought $1.50 was too much to pay for gas? Remember when we were young and…? Those early years of unbalanced walking, of innocents, of attempting to make a permeant mark on the world are essential in establishing a foundation for our life.
As authors we have to have those early years to build a foundation for our work. The problem is we want our writing to be as mature and developed as we are in the years we have lived, but that’s not how it works. We have to take the first steps, fall over a lot, become more confident, build our muscles, develop our coordination and finally learn to run. If we don’t allow ourselves to experience the first steps, we will never run.
Don’t miss the early years! Write a lot, about anything. Write, read, listen, watch, learn. Write, print, and save samples of your work so you can measure your foot steps. Some day you will be able to say, “Remember when I wrote like that?”!