Being a Beginner

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.


4 thoughts on “Being a Beginner

  1. Sue,
    Thanks for all the great sdvice and thanks for giving me some hints about my blog. When you are new (relatively) to the publishing industry advice is a must. I looked at my blog role and removed a few that were not beneficial to me. Some of the writers hadn’t posted in quite some time. Was that what you meant?

    1. Sharon,
      If you have a blog role to evaluate, you are ahead of me. As a new blogger, I decided that I would do the minimal/no frills set up on my blog. I didn’t even have a blog role for quite some time and, as you can see, it is still minimal. Extremely minimal. I’ll have to add it to my laughably long to-do list!

  2. I’m surprising myself with my blog. I changed some back ground and font colors today. I still have a lot to learn. I’m having trouble coming up with a picture and topic tonight.

    I went to the library and checked out abound 15 folktales to study for the Children’s Writer newsletter competition that runs through October 15th.

    I have a pile of ms’s that I need to revise and start looking for homes for them. I don’t like the searching part. Jane Yolen said having an agent leaves her plenty of time to write. She doesn’t have to worry about where it will go, it’s the agents job. Of course, you’ve got to find an agent first…

    1. . . . and once you find an agent, you lose researching markets as a way to procrastinate when stuck during a tough rewrite. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

      I need to start including photos again but my source began having technical difficulties. Will have to figure something else out.

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