I have a favorite phrase that I often repeat to myself: "You don't know what you don't know until you know it." A bit circular, yes, but that's me. However, it's pretty darn true. Sometimes, you just don't know something until you do.
- Repetition is a good thing
I'm not talking writing/prose/structure. I'm referring more to absorption. When I first started going to conferences, I wondered why I often heard the same presentations over and over. Sure, the presenters were different and even their methods were different but it still came back to the same ol' stuff, right?
Turns out, even God repeats Himself. We humans have brains like colanders instead of goatskin bags. (After being buried in the desert for for six months, those suckers have been known to last for ten generations--waterproof for two or three hundred years! This fact was brought to you from copious amounts of research. And the number 5.)
Point being, retention of facts (goat bags aside) isn't always easy. But once you've heard it a bunch of times, you absorb it and start acting on it. It's a beautiful thing when you look back and see how far you've come just by learning to listen.
- If you treat your writing professionally, you can become a professional writer
Wax on, wax off. It sounds pretty obvious but it took me a lot longer to learn this than you'd think. *Disclaimer: I'm still learning. I'm definitely not a guru on the mountain top.* My friend ali is a great example of this. (In fact, you should probably go read her blog, instead. Just ignore my claws wrapped around your pant leg when you go.) I've watched her for a while now and she treats her writing very seriously. She has set hours. She's dedicated. And she's going places, I guarantee it.
A lot of people have some great advice on this topic: Show up and your muse will show up, too; Persistence pays; Climb every mountain, Ford every stream, Follow every rainbow...er, I mean...well, you get the point. When you treat your craft with the respect it deserves, it pays big dividends.
Those are only a few of the things that I didn't know until I knew them. Sadly, no one could teach them to me until I was ready. But when I got there, the strength of learning--of discovering those truths for myself--struck me and changed me for the better. It took time. Sometimes, I wonder if that's why we're encouraged to hang in there, because like a goat-skin bag, we're not properly tanned until we've put in our dues. (Thought you'd escaped that, huh?)
What do you know that you didn't know before?
Until next time,
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow