I've read lots of posts lately by other bloggers on blogs I love to read, answering questions from readers about how they know when their manuscript is ready, how important it is to have a critique group, things they wished they knew when they were starting, things never to do....etc...Well, this is not one of those posts.
This post is going to encourage you to make mistakes.
See, the thing is, even learning the ropes from other writers isn't good enough. It's like someone telling you how to ride a bike, or your mom giving you advice about love and crushes when you are a teen-ager. You just won't know how to do it until YOU jump on that bike and fall off, until YOU feel butterflies in your stomach every time you see him walk by and then he dumps you before Valentine's Day so he won't have to buy you a gift.
You have to make you own mistakes to learn. Because, really, you will NEVER understand what you need to do to be a better writer until you do. Sorry, but you're probably going to have to query too early with a manuscript that in a few years will make you cringe and become known as "the Drawer Novel". But that's okay, because you will never believe that it is a drawer novel until the publishing world claims it is. (And sometimes, people have been so good in their past lives or something like that, and they don't even HAVE to go through the drawer novel stage. but you will never know, NEVER unless you just take risk and send it off.) Take your character down a new path. Try writing in a new POV, or a new genre. Don't fear the unknown. Don't you want to be like Indiana Jones and have a snake story? You'll never have a snake story ("Why did it have to be snakes.....") and get to shake your fist in despair at the sky, while knowingly winking at others, unless you take the chance and follow your heart.
So, go ahead.
Make the mistakes that only you can make. Learn from them. Embrace them. Take them to lunch and buy them a nice salad and a carrot raisin muffin.
You have to be willing to risk to learn.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
P.S. Yes, I make lots of mistakes. I'll post about them another day. But know this, I have several books published and I still love writing, so the whole mistake thing seems to be working out for me.