Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ten Years

Soon, I will be twenty-eight, an important age for me.  Ten years will have passed since I graduated high school.  Only two years remain until I hit a new decade.  It seems a time to reflect on where I wanted to be ten years ago and where I am now.

I thought I'd be further along than I am now.  Realistically, I knew I'd be struggling as a writer, but I guess I'd hoped I'd be published by now, or at least have finished a novel.  I'm not married, I don't have my own place, I don't even have a driver's license.  It's easy to see myself as a failure, looking at this particular slice of life.  But I met some goals and did some things I never expected.  For example, I:

  • Got my Bachelor's Degree
  • Became Christian
  • Learned Japanese
  • Traveled Abroad
  • Lived Abroad (for 3 years!)
  • Paid off $20,000 in Student Debts
  • Did Volunteer Work
  • Received 14 Rejections
  • Wrote and Re-wrote an 850 page fantasy novel
  • Never gave up on my dream to be a writer, even when things got tough
My twenties were about ambition, but it was also a time of learning how to be an adult.  I hope that in my thirties some of this hard learning will pay off, and I'll have a steadier life.  Here's how I picture myself in the next ten years, barring some kind of disaster:

  • I want to have three books published
  • I want my own house/ apartment and my own little dog
  • I want a retirement account with actual money in it
  • I want to try dating
  • I want to keep up my volunteer work
  • I want to plant a garden
  • I want to travel to at least 2 different countries
  • I want to learn a new, surprising skill
  • I want to have a close relationship to family and friends
  • I might want a Master's Degree
So, those are my modest long-term goals.  Hopefully, I'll see them through. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Goals and Dreams 2013

Every year I do my New Year's Resolutions, aka, goals for the year.  Unfortunately, I tend to lose the paper I write it on sometime in February and by December, I never know if I made it or not.  So, now I'm posting it on this blog, where it will stay safely until December 2013.  Maybe I'll update as the year goes by and these goals are completed.


These are the serious things that I expect myself to finish before the year's done.  If I don't complete them, I'll probably be very upset at myself.

  • Get Driver's License (July)
  • Finish Posting Fanfiction (by March) (Finished 3-1-13)
  • March-Crunch (500 words a day, 5 days a week in preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo) (Finished 3-27-13, 17499 words)
  • Camp NaNoWriMo in April (Finished 4-26-13, 57207 words)
  • Finish Editing Changelings (Chapter 24, 26, 27, 28, 29) by summer (Chapter 26: Finished 1-5-13; Chapter 24: Finished 1-26-13; Chapter 27: Finished 2-28-13; Chapter 28: Finished 5-12-13; Chapter 29: Finished 6-3-13; Chapter 1: Finished 6-17-13; Total Words: Approx 220,000 or 800 pages)
  • Finish Rough Draft of Originals (Finished 4-26-13, see Camp NaNoWriMo)
  • Finish "Three Floating Coffins" (Worked on it consistently but did not finish.)
  • Begin Credentialing Process (Didn't even start)
  • Crunch-tober (More or less)
  • NaNoWriMo (November) (Completed Company in 21 days)
  • Keep up Blog for the Year (Up until the end.)
  • Keep up Volunteering (Read OC fell though, but still volunteering at library.)
  • Start Submiting Novel to Agent (10 Agents: 8 Rejections and 2 No Replies)
  • Evaluate Goals and Dreams at the end of the year!  (Working on it)

These are all the things I'd like to do that are either out of my control or maybe just ideas to throw out there.  In other words, I might get some of these done, but I'm not going to kill myself if I don't.
  • Get published this year (Didn't Happen)
  • Make enough money to subsist on (Er... sort of.)
  • Learn new, more effective ways of writing (???)
  • Read more fiction (Thus far read: Trickster, The Skull of Truth, a few short stories; The Grimm Legacy; multiple Agatha Christie novels; Across the Face of the World; Daughter of Smoke and Bone; The Scorpio Races; The Rook; etc.)
  • Exercise or meditate for 5 minutes each day (Got off track in spring)
  • Write a screenplay (Ha, ha, No.)
  • Write poems for NaPoWriMo (also April) (See Blog)
  • Finish "Ghost" Story (aka "Company," Complete 11-21-13)
  • Write 12 new short stories (1 per month) (1. The Character Assassination of Julia Kaiser: 2-7-13; 2. Second Chance: 2-10-13... And a few unfinished drafts)
  • After finishing the rough draft, write a new chapter for the Originals 3 times a month (Finished rough draft, re-wrote 6 chapters--not nearly up to par with my goal)
  • Devote a week each month to brainstorming/ research/ short stories/ new stuff (No time)
  • Use Weekly Planner to Keep Track of Events/ Words/ Pages/ Accomplishments (Started Jan and Feb, got off track Mar, April...)
  • Celebrate more! (That's hard to quantify)

As of January 2014, I have marked off the goals I completed reasonably well in yellow, the ones that were not finished and/ or ambiguous (though some effort was made) in orange, and the ones where no progress was made at all in red. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Weekly Update: 12/28/12

The big news for this week is, of course, Christmas.  I went up to see my family, including my brother who's serving the army in Oklahoma.  I spent most of the weekend making pies and other holiday foods.  Then, finally, it was time to celebrate.

My mom's side family has a Christmas Eve tradition of getting everyone together at my uncle's house and partaking in a Christmas game.  This year we had two: a game from my brother Tyler and his wife Shantel and a game from my cousins Alyson and Kevin.  Tyler's game involved pictionary, putting together puzzles, dressing tiny dogs, and trivia.  The thing we laughed at most was when he had a present wrapping contest--which involved wrapping present's for his wife's emminent birthday. We laughed at that.  I came in third, but I got the best prize: a twenty dollar gift certificate to Wal-Mart.  Alyson and Kevin's game involved trivia, charades, random "Minute-to-Win-It"-esque stunts.  Such as sucking up ornaments with used-up rolls of wrapping paper and hooking it on a string.  My team lost that, as we do every year.

As we've aged, my family's grown further apart, but these games unite us in a positive way.  It's becoming increasingly rare that we all find something to participate in, something to laugh over, something to look back on for years to come.  It's also poignant because we have no idea just how long we can all of us come together like this.  My brother's in the army, my aunt's in Seattle, and two of my cousins work odd holiday hours.  We never know if this is our last game.

Christmas Day was more subdued.  We ate cinnamon rolls and drank hot chocolate, as per our tradition.  I got approximately eight different books and a couple new shirts, which I consider a successful season.  We had ham for dinner, and I spent the next two days transforming the leftovers into soup and quiche.  And we still have two containers of hame left.  Good thing we have a dog to help us out. :)

I was surprised how much writing I squeezed in alongside holiday preparations, social activities, and plain old laziness.  Between waiting for my pies to bake, I edited a couple of chapters from my Team Rocket fanfiction story.  This wound up being good practice for editing an actual chapter from my novel.  I also did a lot of soul searching and reflecting, resulting in a couple new blog entries which I will post shortly.

I saw Lincoln with my dad today, which is chock full of good old-fashioned, nasty insults.  Not only did it inspire me to take a look back at U.S. history, it made me want to think of how to tear someone apart while keeping the language PG.  I finished The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal.  Last but not least, I cut my hair.  For the first time since elementary school, I now have bangs and I already want to grow out--at least a little.  It is sort of fun, though, combing my fingers through them and flipping them back.

 That's all for this week.  See you in 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Book Review: How to Spot a Liar

Title: How to Spot a Liar (Revised Edition, 2012)
Authors: Gregory Hartley and Maryann Karinch
Genre: Self-Help, Psychology


According to the back of the book, How to Spot a Liar "gives[s] you the tools needed to figure out what's really going on" and that this new revised edition "delves deeper into the how and why people lie."  It is recommended for "anyone with a cheating spouse or manipulative boss... anyone whose success and happiness depends on clear communication with others.... anyone who wants to become just a bit more inscrutable...."

Inside the book, a helpful Table of Contents provide chapter titles, some of which seem innocent enough, some of which hint at the darkness to come: 

Where Do These Techniques Come From?
Why and How Do People Lie?
Are Men and Women (and Children) Different?
Planning and Preparation
Baselining to Detect and Apply Stress
Extracting Information
Digging Out the Truth
Change the Way You Fight
Are You in Love or Captivity?
Getting the Upper Hand in a Meeting
Direct the Interview
Close the Deal
How to Avoid Falling for These Techniques


The first thing you need to know about the book is that author Gregory Hartley served as an army interrogator, so the techniques taught in this book are pretty hard-core and serious, toned down somewhat for civilian life.  You begin with a target in mind and start "baselining" them, that is figuring out their normal body language in a non-stressful situation.  Not all people who blink a lot are liars; sometimes that's just how the person acts.

Once you figure out a person's normal response, you begin to apply the stress in order to figure out how they react.  This can be done through asking the right questions, examples of which abound.  The book also discusses techniques used to get a person into a limbic state, that is, crying and confessing, although the authors recommend stopping short of that if you want to maintain a good relationship with the person.  Other chapters discuss using these techniques to escape captivity (ie, an abusive relationship) and how to persuade people (in a business setting, for example.)

Despite the cheery "self-help" style cover, How to Spot a Liar is not a simple, fluffy read.  To actually spot a liar, you will need to master several techniques and do a lot of research.  In that sense, I'm not sure how much effort a typical layperson would want to invest in it.  

On the other hand, it is a genuinely fascinating read.  Many of the examples were drawn from interrogation of war prisoners, and those comprised some of the strongest elements.  The writing is rather dense as such not easy to skim through.  But it is clear and compelling and filled with psychological insight and concrete examples. 


This book should be called How to Interrogated People in War and Everyday Life.  And I mean that in the best possible way.  Right now, I don't have to deal with a cheating spouse or manipulative bosses, but I do have several scenes in my writing where my characters are caught and interrogated, where they deal with intrigue, or where they just have to read the body language of another person.  And for those situations, this book is gold.

The part that sold me on this book was a section on which of the Myers-Briggs personalities are natural liars.  Being the Narcassist I am, I immediately skipped right over to my own archetype, the NFs or Idealists.  The authors wrote of them, "[The idealist's] keywords are authentic, benevolent, and emphatic.  This temperament type's mission and focus are on 'becoming' and harmony.

"And they make good liars." (Hartley and Karinch, page 70).

I almost bust out laughing at that.  Me, a good liar?  I giggle playing mafia and crack under poker.

But they continue that NFs are naturally gifted at imagining them inside that situation, becoming the lie in essence.  In doing so, they keep their body language at normal.  So, basically, the same traits that makes Idealists good actors and fiction writers also make them good at lying, if they so desire.

 Aside from using personality types, the book also discusses the way learning styles, body language, and motives people have for lying, all great character information.  There are examples of how to push people to the brink and bring them back (maybe).  This is all done in a non-violent way, by applying different kinds of psychological stress. 

Quite a dangerous book, I think, if it ever fell in the wrong hands.

I recommend this book for any writer who has lying characters or needs to write up an interrogation scene.  Personally, I'm going to re-read this book a couple of times and apply what I learn to some of my characters.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weekly Update: 12/22/12

Focus has been difficult for me this week, due in part to the holidays and also due in part to the blasts of a sinus headache.  Everytime the seasons change, my sinuses explode.  This week the temperature dropped to freezing.  I went from being comfortable in short sleeves to shivering in jackets.

Since writing has been difficult, I've focused on research.  I've been watching Snake Wranglers on the Discovery Channel (or is it Animal Planet?).  It would be worth it just to see how people go about capturing snakes, but there's also a lot of scientific information squeezed into each half hour episode. For example, did you know that the highway is one of the best places to catch rattlesnakes?  The heat attracts them.  Or that snake charmers used de-fanged cobras in their work?  The venom, however, also functions as the cobra's saliva, allowing them to digest their food.  Without their venom they die.

In addition, I cracked open Cults in Our Midst by Margaret Thaler Singer.  I'm about two-thirds of the way through.  This book is rather terrifying, when you start to think avout how cults work to break down an individual's psyche, isolate them from their friends and family, and threaten anyone who would expose them.  Currently, I'm just skimming, taking everything in.  Hopefully, my sub-conscious will break the information down into ideas for my novel.

I wrote three scenes for a chapter, something like 15 pages, and I got two substitute jobs.  Though I requested high school students in the field of English, history, and Japanese, somehow I ended up teaching elementary school children P.E.  Little children bewilder me, I have to admit.  I don't know how I'm going to adjust to being an aunt.

Also did some Christmas shopping, present wrapping, cookie baking, card signing, and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" watching.  Going to make a sour cream blueberry pie for Christmas dessert. Looking forward to some rest and relaxation for the holidays.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

3 Things Writers Must Do (Besides Write)

When I was young and the world seemed easy, I had the foolish notion that writing was just a matter of sitting down to write.  A writer, armed with coffee and a computer, would sit at her desk for hours and hours, letter keys clicking, while the paragraphs and pages flowed out from her brain to her fingers to the screen.  Back when I was innocent, I didn't think of myself as naive.  I knew that there would be times of frustration and writer's block, but I figured that if I just kept at it, those blocks would dissolve and the story would emerge.

I tested this theory the summer I was nineteen, and it nearly destroyed me.   

I was not happy.  I was not even productive.  After three months with absolutely nothing to do but write, I got about two chapters written, both of which I threw away a couple months later.  In the mean time, I grew to hate writing, hate my story, hate that stuffy room with the glare of sunshine and the heat of the computer.

Writing, as it turns out, is not enough.   If you want to create a story, you need to attack it from many different angles.  Half the work is blunt force--sitting down at the computer and getting the words to come out.  The other half is figuring out what to how to write and what to write.

Here are three things writers need to do in addition to simply writing.

1. Goal-set

It's simple enough.  You might be able to write a poem or a short story on the fumes of inspiration, but the longer the work, the more discipline is required.  (And I write 800-page fantasy monsters.)  The easiest way to create discipline is to set goals.  Something specific.  I will write such-and-such number of words/ pages a day.  I will finish a chapter each month.

It sounds easy.  It's not.

Goal-setting, goal-writing, and goal-keeping is practically an art form.  And like all art it needs the magical combination of intuition, suffering. and constant practice to really blossom.  

For instance, you have to figure out what a realistic goal for you is.  If you're anything like me, you're going to horribly over-estimate yourself and then mentally berate yourself for not finishing.  You're going to agonize about what the definition of "finishing" a chapter is.  What if it sucks?  Also, different drafts create different production rates.  I can type 3 pages an hour when I'm writing a first draft.  I barely make a half a page when I'm doing close editing.

What if you have a nice writing schedule and something happens?  Maybe your grandmother dies.  Maybe you get a free trip to Europe.  Maybe you just can't write on that particular story anymore, but this other story interests you.  Should you set goals every year?  Every month?  Every day?  Are there rewards for achieving your goals?  Punishments for failing?

At some point, you start to wonder why you bother to spend so much time on goals that always seem to fail.

You do it in order to learn how you write.  You do it in order to get things done.  You do it because you have to.  Period.

2. Brainstorm

For me, this takes two forms.

First is the note-taking form, which I tend to do whenever I'm stuck.  Here I ditch my computer for a notebook and pencil and start throwing out various ideas to see which one sticks.  Or, if I'm not that far along, I whine about all the reasons I hate writing this scene until I figure out what the problem is.  Complaining is a surprisingly effective problem-solving method.   My hypothesis is that your brain gets sick of your ranting and begins tossing out solutions just to get you to shut up.

I guess that this technically counts as writing, as words are going on the page.  Initially, though, I never counted it because I wasn't "in" the story.  It was like trying to climb a mountain and finding a fallen log in your path and stopping to hack away at it.  It's all part of the experience, but you don't feel like you're going anywhere at the time.

If I didn't count note-taking, I really had a problem with the second form: daydreaming. For me, this usually involves lying on my bed with my eyes shut or staring at a single point, trying to act out a scene in my head.  Or else I start pacing circles around a room, muttering to myself.  Believe it or not, this is a good sign.  Whenever you see me talking to myself, you can bet my imagination is kicked into high gear.  It was fun, but it didn't feel like anything was being accomplished.

Yet something was.

Either form of brainstorm forces you to pause and think about where the story is going.  It's a slap to the face of the myth that stories appear fully formed in writer's brain.  They don't.  You constantly have to stop and figure out what's next and will this work.  Trying to move forward without brainstorming is like trying to drive across the country using side streets without stopping to check the map.  Good luck with that.

3. Research

Yes, even for fantasy writers.

This has two major purposes.  First, it helps you to avoid looking dumb.  Now I write high fantasy, and this genre, more so than others, gives the writer the power to say, "my world, my rules."  And that's fine.  But know that people will be using the real world to gauge things like, oh, battles and medieval villages and the effect of religion on social mores.  If you strain too hard on their credibility, they lose their suspension of disbelief and there goes the story.

The other reason to do research is to gather ideas.  Ideas don't pop out of nowhere, after all.  I've found that I need external stimuli of some sort or another to get the creative juices in my head flowing.  While it would be nice if this stimuli came in the form of, say, a vacation to Europe, the easiest and most efficient way to do this is to read books.

For example, let's say that you're trying to write a battle scene, but you're not a military expert.  You can either try to imagine your way to something and hope that you fool the experts.  Or, you can research weapons, armor, castles, and famous battles similar to the one you want to fight.  Now maybe you'll never be an expert, but at least you can see how expecting a poor farmer to transform into knights in shining armor in a week is just slightly unrealistic.  You can see how weapons and armor (or lack thereof) determine the kind of battle you want to fight and how you might lure your enemy into a trap.

It's much easier than just squeezing your eyes shut and willing a cool battle into existance.

Weekly Update: 12/16/12

My aunt put the Christmas decorations up on Thanksgiving, and I'm finally getting in the holiday spirit.  The other day I spontaneously burst into caroling.  Unfortunately, the carols I most wanted to sing were the ones I didn't know the words, so I ended up humming.

"Hum-hum-hum on the Feast of Stephen Hum-hum-hum."
"Glo-o-o-o-ria. Something something deo."

I had two substitute jobs, which constituted a good week of work for me.  I'd like to have 2-3 jobs a week.  Then maybe I could think about medical insurance.  But I'm not quite there yet, leaving me with lots of writing hours and sporadic anxious insomnia.

I finished a draft of Chapter 26 of my novel, then turned back and re-wrote it.  The first draft, I focused on ideas and logic.  The second draft, I focused on images and feelings.  The final draft will involve language and the nitty-gritty of point of view.  This chapter's fun, as it involves murder and madness, but I'm worried that the madness clashes with the murder.  I guess I'll have to see how it goes.

I raided my local library and came up with two books on ghosts, a book on cults, and a book on science and the soul.  My aunt also loaned me a couple of books on true crime.  These are all for research purposes, naturally.  In addition, I read that parasites can cause you to pee blood and smallpox might make your skin ooze off you in sheets.  Thanks a lot Killer Germs by Barry and David Zimmerman. A girl without health insurance really needs to know how many ways disease can kill her.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Things I've Learned From Submitting to Magazines

I am not an expert at publication.  On the contrary, I'm quite new at the game.  It was only last spring I started to take the concept of publishing seriously.  My first story was submitted this past August and in the four months that followed I have published exactly 0 works.  But I've been learning along the way and now have a slightly better grasp on the business of publication than I had even half a year ago.  To celebrate Rejection #13, here are all the things I learned while trying to get published.

1. There Are Still Paying Magazines Out There!

When I got my Writer's Digest Writer's Market 2011, I was saddened to see something like 3 fantasy magazines listed in there and came to the conclusion that there was no market for fantasy short stories.  My dream seemed over before it began.  But all was not lost.

I learned of the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future, which only considers amateur writers' work and offers prizes up to $5000 with no entry fee.  Also, the Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers included some helpful sites.  Predators and Editors, while somewhat out of date, does offer a few (mostly low-paying) magazines.

But the most helpful website by far was the Science Fiction Writers of America, which almost inadvertently gave me a cache of updated and paying websites.  The Science Fiction Writers of America will only accept published SF/F writers as members, the lowest of which must publish at least 1 short story in a magazine paying a minimum $50 or 5 cents a word.  They helpfully offer a list of qualifying magazines.  That means the twenty or so magazines listed not only specifically publish my genre, they also pay a decent amount.  Once I found this little gem, half my work was done.

2. Some Magazines are Digital and Some are Non-Profit

I was surprised to learn how many of the magazines are entirely digital and how many of the magazines simply give out their content free of charge, no ads or anything.  Sometimes you have to go to their website and sometimes they send the stories straight to your email!  Obviously, this is a wonderful opportunity for writers to research the magazines and find out exactly what kind of stories the publishers are interested in.

More amazingly, they give their content out free and still pay writers.  How do they do it?  I learned that at least some of them do all the work of applying for grant money from the government so that they can pay for quality stories.  I, personally, really am grateful for these magazines and their editors who put in so much hard work for our sakes.

3. Organization is Key

Before I got serious about submitting to magazines, I would occasionally check out the pay rates of a magazine, see what they were looking for, and daydream about submitting.  Ultimately, that got me no where.  There were too many negative feelings associated with publishing, and I just couldn't muster up the backbone to go through with it.  It was too much work, I inwardly whined.  I was too busy.

Organization changed that.  First of all, the very process of organizing changed my mental framework.  The business of publication became a business and did not hinge on my feelings at the moment.  Having a system in place made submissions efficient and far easier.

So what was my system?

I printed out forms with the name of the magazine, their email, their editor, their genre, their interests, what they were looking for, what they were NOT looking for, their pay rate, the word limits, and how to submit.  I filled out a form for every magazine (hand-written, no less) and stuck these in a binder for future reference.

When I have a story ready to submit for publication, I flip through the binder and make a list of the magazines which might be interested in the story.  I prioritize the list and go through it one magazine after the other.  After I submit, I do my record-keeping.

On a spreadsheet, I type in the name of the story, the magazine I submitted to, the date I sent it, when I can expect a response, the date it got accepted or rejected, comments, any costs for submitting the story (postage or contest fees) and any money received (which, to date, is just a big column of 0s).  I do this every time I send out a story.  I also print out a copy of my rejections.  This is partially for tax purposes (on the off chance I make enough money to pay taxes), partially to keep track of where my stories are sent, partially to see how long it takes to get a rejection.

Very basic stuff, but it does take time to make and implement a system.  

4. It is Very, Very Hard to Get Accepted

For some reason I thought that it would be easy to get published in Daily Science Fiction.  After all, they needed stories five days a week.  My logic was that they needed more stories than monthly or bimonthly magazines and so I would have a better shot at getting published due to sheer volume.

I was mistaken.

My story did actually get through the first round of cuts, "rarified company that more than 80% of submissions do not reach."  The second and final round had slightly better odds, but still "half or more of our second round stories will not ultimately see publication."  In other words, I had a 90% chance or higher of being rejected.  And, by the way, I was.  I got cut in the second round.

Now, if those are my odds for a magazine that needs 260 stories a year, I shudder to think of what my odds are for something like the Writers of the Future Contest which only accepts 12 stories a year.   

5. Feedback is More Precious Than Gold

Most of the magazines I've submitted to tell me straight out that they don't have time to give personalized feedback.  You get a polite but generic rejection letter.  The stories I sent "couldn't hold my interest" or "isn't quite what we're looking for right now" or "didn't quite work for me."  One letter told me, "To date, we have reviewed many strong stories that we did not take.  Either the fit was wrong or we'd just taken tales with a similar theme or a half dozen other reasons."

I'm beginning to wonder if the legend editors sending back manuscripts bleeding with red ink to heart-broken writers has gone the way of the dinosaurs.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong, if anything.  Perhaps the editor just didn't like it, perhaps it was bested by better stories, perhaps it was just late to the party.  There is something quite gauling in thinking your story was rejected not for any obvious reason, but because it just wasn't good enough.

If I ever do receive one of those bleeding manuscripts, I shall probably jump for joy.  Then I'll read it and weep.

6. 1st Rejection = Elation; 10th = Depression 

My first rejection letter came in the mail, and when I received it, I was devastated, but also weirdly elated.  All writers get rejected, so this letter was like a badge of proof that I was now part of the writer's club.  I had taken a step up.  I was professional now.  And I figured  after about 50 rejections, I'd start getting accepted.  That's just how it worked.

Fast-forward to rejection # 10 and the elation had worn off.  I just felt devastated.

It's like going on one of those rafting rides.  Before you even step on, you see the sign.  "You will get wet.  You may get soaked."   You see the people exiting the raft shaking water off their slippers and notice the beads of precipitation on the seats.  But still, you get on.

Rejection #1 is like hitting the first rapid and feeling cold water go down your back.  It's shocking, but also exciting.  Rejection #10 is like walking around the park in wet socks for an hour, getting a blister on your heel.  You're just sloughing through, knowing it will be a long time before conditions change and feeling helpless to do anything about it.

So expect doubt and depression and questioning your worth as a writer.  Just expect it delayed.

7. I'm More Creative Than I Thought 

I never thought of myself as an "idea" person.  My writing strength came from developing stories; that's why I preferred novels to short stories.   With a novel, I take one or two ideas and develop the heck out of them.  But with each new short story, a new idea is needed.  How was I supposed to constantly think of ideas?  My mind just didn't work that way.

Well, maybe it does.

I came up with an idea journal and forced myself to write in it.  I was not constant.  Every now and then, I'd force myself to write a page or two in the journal.  Every now and then, I'd daydream a good idea right before bed and stick it in the journal.  Every now and then, I'd stumble upon an interesting new fact or concept and play with it.

And while I can't say I'm a fount of ideas, I nearly filled up that journal in six months and came up with more ideas than I needed to.  All I needed was a journal and a half-hearted attempt at brainstorming.  Were all the ideas good?  No.  But I'm still shocked at the usable amount that I, a "non-creative" person, was able to come up with.

8.  I'm Not Sorry

I've known I've wanted to be a professional writer since I was twelve.  I pursued creative writing as a degree.  I'm 27, and I've only just started publishing.  Think of all I could have learned if I had started ten years sooner.  Aren't you sorry you waited so long?

No, honestly, I'm not.  I wasn't ready ten years ago.

For the longest time, I refused to submit to magazines.  I told myself I wasn't a short story writer.  My prose wasn't up to par, my ideas were unsellable, my stories were doomed to failure.  All true. (Probably.)  But the real reason I didn't submit was because I didn't think could handle the rejection.  I would crack under the pressure, fall into a depression, and never write again.

So, I didn't look into publishing.  Instead, I spent ten years honing my craft and building up professional armor.  I needed to know my stories were good on their own, whether they were published or not.  At the same time, I had to de-sensitize from the finished product enough to treat publishing as a business, basically detach my dreams of success from the story and cast it out like a fisherman throwing out a net.

Writing is a hard business.  Some young writers throw out their work and achieve fame and prestige.  Others get crushed.  I took the cautious path.  That's what I was comfortable with.  When you're leaning toward ready, jump.  But if you're still frozen in terror, it's okay.  Take your time.