I found these guys from Christine (I guess that's why they call all this blogging and twittering and anything-elsering social networking, with the key word being "network") and thought I'd join the fun, especially since they captured a writer's life quite well. Check it out.
And now for the actual content of this post...
1: That there is far more to being a writer than writing. Yes, the actual writing is the primary and most important part of being a writer. You can't be a writer without, well, writing. But, after you've written your manuscript, there's so much to do that has nothing to do with characters or plot line or setting or prose but has everything to do with becoming a writer (in the published-author sense of the word). There's market research and query letters and platform building and networking; there's submissions and rejections and more submissions and more rejections. And then, after all of that, guess what? You get to wait ;) And wait, and wait, and wait, and really start to loathe the phrase "Patience is a virtue."
2: That writing a synopsis would become the bane of my writerly existence. No, really. I can write a three hundred word pitch just fine. I can handle a brief summary for query letters. I can even manage a single-sentence description. But a two to five page synopsis? That is beyond me for some reason. Oh, I can plunk out two to five pages of something that looks like a summary of my novel, but it is absolutely not pleasant to read.
3: That my fondness of sticky notes would grow exponentially. I buy them in bulk. And for birthday gifts? I ask for the fancy designer kind (I don't use those, except for very special occasions. I still have a pad of a purple paisley design from two years ago in my drawer). During the multiple revisions of my novel, the stack of paper that was my manuscript turned into a sticky-note hedgehog. My idea-file? Full of sticky notes covered in tiny, cramped writing. To-do lists? On sticky notes - because when I'm finished with a task, I can crumple up the cheerfully colored square of paper and throw it out (which is much more satisfying than simply crossing something off a list).
4: That sometimes it's best to just walk away. This is especially true during the revision phase of writing. You get too close, too tied into your story and characters that the problems are either invisible or seemingly insurmountable. Put it away and don't look at it for a few weeks (maybe even a few months). When you come back, things are so much better. So much better.
5: That revising takes up a lot of floor space. Well, it did for me. Between my second and third drafts, I did a major overhaul of most of the storyline. This meant that something needed to be changed in every single chapter. I prefer to do my revising by hand as opposed to on my computer, so I printed the whole thing off, clipped the chapters together, and made a circle of them. I sat in the middle with my scissors and tape and went to work. No one was allowed to walk through my room for days.
So there it is. The five things I wish I had known beforehand :)