When I started this road to publication three years ago, I started hanging out with writers.
I knew a bit about writing before that. Most of it was untrained talent from birth, apparently. One of my classmates from elementary school commented at my launch party that I tended to set the class bar too high. "Didn't matter what we wrote, Robynn was gonna do something prettier and better." Or something like that.
Frankly I was so startled by the observation, I didn't pay much attention to the actual words. Bad Turtle.
Elementary school? Did it really go that far back?
During high school, mom and I studied writing. Went to conferences, hung out with local published authors, bought books on writing, that sort of thing. Didn't go anywhere at the time for either of us, but it did provide a nice, realistic base for what the publishing industry was like twenty years ago.
Hasn't changed all that much, folks, FYI.
As I've said before, though, I was a big turtle in a small pond. When none of your associates care about writing as a skill past the grade on the next test, it's easy to think you're big stuff. You find out how small you are when you seek out other writers.
It's good to have a healthy appreciation of your skill level. Somebody will always be better than you at writing and somebody will always be worse and many will be about the same. Sometimes, though, it's disheartening to see how many are the same or better.
For the last few weeks, I've been helping a normal person with a paper for class. Not a huge paper and way outside my genre, but I've done what I can. Don't know the grade yet. Curious about that.
It reminded me that, small turtle in an ocean of writers that I am, I do know more than the average schooling fish. Considering how severely my current WIP is kicking my tail, I needed that.