Years ago during my dance days, I auditioned for a company in another state. In the post-audition interview, the artistic director said nice things about my dancing and concluded by telling me: “You’re such a finished dancer.”
I thanked her for her kind words, but I knew this last statement was dead wrong. There is no such thing as a “finished dancer”! There are always new ways to grow, both technically and artistically. As I look back, I recognize that I became a much better dancer in the years following her comment to me. And by the time age and injury let me know it was time to find a new dream, I felt grateful to have had a career in which boredom wasn’t an issue. Even though I was never going to arrive at some magical place of dance perfection, there was more to aspire to.
As a writer, I’ve discovered much the same thing. There is always more to work on and improve. Writers don’t get to be “finished” either.
Take yesterday, for example. I got some wonderful news. I’d submitted my fourth YA novel, Deadly Setup, to Fire and Ice, the publisher of my forthcoming Leisha’s Song. Lo and behold, they liked Deadly Setup and wanted to publish it! I was thrilled and my husband arrived home to find me doing my “Boula-Boula” happy dance.
Just when I was feeling a definite boost in confidence about my writing, I spent two and a half hours with an astute beta reader discussing another project, my first attempt to write a mystery for adults. She said, “I love this novel, but…” and began outlining her concerns about the need to more fully develop my main character, especially with respect to her growth and change.
My initial response was to feel deflated by her comments. And then, as I thought more about her concerns, I realized—Holy guacamole, she’s right! Her critique gave me lots of ideas about what I needed to do to make the work stronger.
So, back to the drawing board. Lots of work lies ahead on this project.
But here’s the good thing: I’m not bored, and I doubt I ever will be. I’m so grateful to have had two careers in my life in which there is always more.