There were real writers at the meeting! Not only had they finished a manuscript, they had books in print! And they were willing to share their expertise with writers like me who were just starting out. I was so excited I wrote a check to join that night.
Soon after I joined RWA, the chapter in Eugene (which has since disbanded) hosted a three-day conference. Once again, I was in heaven. More writers sharing their knowledge. However, I quickly crashed into the reality of how little I really knew about writing a manuscript.
This set up a pattern I repeated several times over the next few years. Susan Wiggs and Stella Cameron were the speakers at the Salem chapter conference. I took copious notes, had a major AHA! experience, and rewrote my manuscript. Guest speakers came to chapter meetings and I slowly gained an understanding of point of view, building characters, conflict, and the other pieces that make up a manuscript. So I rewrote that same manuscript again and again -- probably six or eight times.
That is the manuscript I sold to Awe-Struck E-Books in the fall of 2006 –– fourteen years after I started working on it.
Of course, in the meantime, I bought books on writing, attended more conferences, joined a critique group, and even became an online class junkie one year. Once in awhile, I actually sat at the computer and wrote
How did you learn to write?
As you learned more did you stick with your first manuscript? Is it setting under the bed or hidden away somewhere? Did you shred it before someone found it?
Please share your journey of learning to write.