I got involved in a really intriguing conversation over at Absolute Write, mostly about at what stage a manuscript is done. It got me thinking about the writing journey -- how far I've got to go, but also how far I've been.
I've just been through a year and a half of editing a story I felt sure was done. Heck, I had a partial and two full requests. But full requests are not my goal. A commercially published novel is my goal. I haven't queried anyone in over a year (and it's been maddening, let me tell you), because I don't have what I'm offering in the query -- a manuscript that's as perfect and polished as I have the ability to make it.
This is pretty much all I've been thinking about, writing-wise. But, on the other hand, I've done a lot to even get this far. Here's my "writing timeline":
I wrote my first novel* 18 years ago.
I decided I wanted to get published 13 years ago.
I decided I was serious about that 4 years ago.
And the past four years is where I've seen the massive improvement. Because as much as I've loved making up stories for the past 18 years, I didn't read much, I didn't write anything that challenged me, and I put zero effort into learning how the publishing industry worked. (Anyone who knows what a query is can call themselves way ahead of where I was.)
And now, with a little reversal of my usual pattern, here's what I learned about parenting: It's going to a be a journey. This time last year it was all anticipation and morning sickness. This time next year, I have no clue. But I'm looking forward to the journey.
*More like a novella, really. But it was a novel to me then.