But I'm still surprised--and, yes, even giddy--about how much there is to learn.
I'd like to think I've entered a period of rapid evolution over the past, say, 18 months. In this compressed, intense period, I've learned more about my craft, more about writing, than the previous 20 years. It hasn't been easy -- some of the stages have really sucked, in fact. The hardest part was checking my own ego. There probably isn't a delicate way to say it, but I've always known I was a good writer ... until I found out not so much. Until I found out that I had the potential to be a good writer, but I wasn't there yet. My control was poor. And you can't substitute gut with glib and get away with it for too long.
I realize now how very far I still have to travel before I become as good as I want to be. Still, I think the greatest gift any writer can give themselves—maybe any person—is to be open to new information, to be humble in the face of adversity. I've had a few key people help me over these past 18 months ... they know who they are ... and I'm so grateful to them. But it's also true that the heavy lifting has to come from within.