As a writer, there is nothing better than those light bulb moments. They are the moments when pieces click into place and make the world a little better, a bit brighter. Recently I had a light bulb moment, not in my manuscript but in my approach to my 2nd career. I am no longer a "newbie".
Now, I've been writing forever, but seriously writing toward publication for about 5 years. I've completed several manuscripts, I've finaled in and won several contests, and I've graduated to personal rejections. I'm the type who allows herself to wallow for one day only when I get rejections or bad news. I absolutely believe in learning from my "rejections", applying my new knowledge to my writing and then moving on. Why dwell in the past when I only want to move forward?
Technically, I've known I'm not a newbie for quite a while, but at my last Austin RWA meeting 2 and a half weeks ago it really started to hit me. We had lots of people there, visitors and members alike. People asked questions of our chapter officers and our guest speakers. As I listened to their answers, I realized that I really am a veteran of this march toward publication. The amount of answers I can offer in reference to craft, story elements and RWA just staggers my mind.
I notice this also on my writing loops and even when I speak with non-writer people. Wow! I can speak intelligently about my career goals, the business (from the viewpoint of an almost published writer), story elements, craft and marketing ideas.
With this newfound (or newly acknowledged) wisdom, my question becomes, what will I do with it? First and foremost, I think it deserves another attitude adjustment. I can no longer play dumb. I have to pledge to teach to others what I know. If I don't know something, I have to have the courage to find the answer. I have to be willing to take my career gently in my hands and make sure it receives the attention it deserves---as an almost published writer. I can no longer claim the ignorance of a beginning writer AT ANY POINT. As a PRO member banging on the door to PAN, I have the responsibility to hone my skills and learn all I can about the next step in my career so that I can make intelligent decisions when the time comes.
But most importantly, I have to give back to the community. Pubs and almost pubs answered my questions when I first joined RWA. They fostered a love of craft and continue to lend support even now. As I move up the ladder toward a publishing contract, I see it as my duty to bring someone (or many someones) further up that ladder as well. Life is about living, learning, falling on your face. Courage comes from getting back up, moving ahead and sharing what you've learned. I accept the challenge and my position in the writing community. I embrace my duty to my own career and I will do my best to pass on the gems of wisdom to the next set of almost published writers.