Progress is such a tricky thing. How do you mark it? How do others perceive it? In my experience, the perception of progress is far from the reality.
When I’m working on a writing project, as I’m sure many other writers can relate, I keep things fairly private. My family and friends know I’m writing, because that’s what I do, but they don’t know much else. My CPs are in the loop, but other than that the progress of my current WIP is pretty elusive.
Progress, for a writer, can mean any number of things. To one writer, progress might mean getting 1,500 words written. Progress to another writer might mean getting a character’s history sorted out. It might be going through a CP’s notes and making changes, small or large. Progress can be as simple as reading a chapter to look for issues. Sometimes, progress is just opening that document and doing something.
As you can see, some of these things cannot be measured or observed. A writer’s progress is often invisible. The perception of progress is often skewed. If you don’t have agent interest, or a finished novel, or several finished novels, you don’t have anything to point to and say I did that. Does that mean you haven’t made any progress?
In the last three years, I have learned more about the craft of writing than 17 years of schooling managed to teach me.
Do I have a project to point to and say This is three years’ work, or This is 17 years’ work? Nope. I do, however, have invaluable experiences under my belt. I have had my work reviewed by HarperCollins editors, I have worked through an entire manuscript with a traditionally published author, and I have worked at a literary agency on books that are now in major bookstores.
Is there anything measurable about my progress right now? Not really, but this is progress I’m really damn proud of. I can point to the last three years and say I did that. I learned that. I can now do this. Hello world! Watch out.