As I’ve reflected on my writing journey to date, I see that it is much like the lasagna. The same essential advice on writing, revision and market that I heard at my first writer’s workshop keeps repeating in some form at each new event that I attend. Write often—everyday if possible. Just sit and keep writing, don’t try to revise each sentence as it comes out. Find great critique partners and mentor texts. Know your genre. Read more to write better. And endless tips on agents, querying, synopsis writing, pitching, et al.
But the repetition doesn’t in any way diminish attending another conference or reading another book on craft. On the contrary, it enhances the experience. Because each time I hear the essentials reiterated in a new way or from a different perspective, I come to understand craft at a deeper level, which in turn adds depth to my writing. But also because I am in a different place. I can more fully see the intricate facets of craft advice. A more detailed understanding missed, at first, because of focusing on mastering the basics.
Think of it like a favorite vacation spot. The first time you visit, something about it grabs your heart. When the memory draws you back for another visit, you see the same sights you loved, but learn more about them as well. You can also step back and see other things around them. Things that were always there, but which escaped attention when your carefully planned first visit itinerary held your focus.
Eventually, if you keep visiting, you truly get to know this vacation destination. You can avoid long lines and traffic-filled routes, know who serves the best of each local specialty and how to dress to be most comfortable. You know where to park and how much to budget.
You get the picture. The more you sit under accomplished writers and publishing professionals, the better you will navigate the writing journey.
And perhaps I will have the opportunity to enjoy a piece of lasagna with you along the way.