Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Experience: A Numbers Game

Recently I had a conversation with a CP / writerly peep regarding a numbers game.

You see, this week's quote, I think is great and so, so true, but only in the right context. Because it does not state if the experience is GOOD or BAD. It's just experience and it is what you do with what comes from your experiences that make you who you are.

This numbers game we were discussing was in reference to the number of books a writer finishes before "the one." I mean, in some cases, you get lucky with the first. In other cases, it's number umpteenth. Regardless, it is the experience of writing each one. That being said, is each one getting progressively BETTER? I mean, I think we can all say that anyone can write a book, if they so choose. It's really not that hard, right? Some words, a few punctuations, not too much to it.

So really, experience, in my mind, means learning from your past and realizing what doesn't work (through the help of CPs and the generally awesometastic writerly community), and taking what you learn and applying it, right? Otherwise, aren't we just doomed to repeat history? Over and over and over again? 

Personally, I look back to some of the stuff I wrote a few years ago and basically think to myself "OMG, I cannot believe I actually thought this was brilliant. What CRAP." And now, I'm a little more, hmm, this is a good third (or fifteenth) draft, but I'm still a ways away from it being really pretty and shiny. 

What am I babbling on about? I guess I'm just saying that IMO, while experience gained through perseverance is a great thing to have, what you DO with the experience matters far more than just getting it. 

What do you guys think?


Amanda Bonilla said...

Agreed! You definitely need to learn from your mistakes. It won't matter if you've written 25 novels if you're not progressively getting better through feedback and and whatnot. One of the most important things to remember is that none of us has reached the point where we can't improve. I learn more about my craft every single day. It's what you do with the experience you're given that counts.

Pam Harris said...

I think experience is absolutely crucial. I've been revising my 1st YA novel off and on for the past 2 years. When I look at my 1st draft now, I'm amazed by how much I've grown as a writer. :)

Stephanie McGee said...

Experience is crucial, but if we don't apply that experience we're just dooming ourselves to repeat history. And that's no way to live or run a writing career.