This week I joined the church choir. In school, I was a soprano. Now I’m sitting with the altos. About half way through practice, the choir master asked how it was going.
“In college, I ended up at a party where I was the only English speaker,” I said. “It was a lot like this.”
But my first choir practice reminded me of what it felt like to be a new writer, too. So much information, so many names, so many buzz words and everyone knew what is going on except me.
If you’re a beginner and you’re feeling totally overwhelmed, take a deep breath and relax. Now pull on your very best filter. Only pay attention to the information that relates to what you need to work on most. When I was a new writer, that would have been my writing. Get comfortable with the terms. Learn how they relate to you. Work on your writing or whatever your greatest need is. When you see solid improvement in your #1 area, you’ll have sorted out the selection of jargon that applies to that topic and you’ll know what’s going on. This knowledge will give you a foundation for additional writing know-how. Things will be much less confusing when you loosen up your filter a little bit at a time.
Now I’m off to grab my sheet music and plink through the anthem. I’m not going to focus on anything but the notes the altos need to sing. Little by little I’ll work it out.