We’ve all seen those advertisements on TV, in magazines and newspapers – miraculous transformations of some type or another. Weight loss, hair growth, muscle toning, tanning from a bottle, an endless parade of promises so rarely kept. Each one with the obligatory before and after shots. I swear that the pictures in some of those weight loss ads have been purposely reversed, with the after actually taken when the subject was slim & trim, and the before following months of constant gorging. My question is this...at what point do they really become after? I mean, if somebody lost 50 pounds with a miracle diet, couldn't they have been successful at 45? 40?
We as writers are striving for our own form of metamorphosis, from fledgling writer to published author. All you need to do is scroll down through your Google Reader or take a stroll through our blogging community to see numerous before pictures. When one of our comrades achieves the dream by landing an agent, their blog will sometimes undergo a face-lift to reflect their new stature, but most of the time it remains the same and we simply view it differently. The after picture forms in our own mind.
Each one of us realizes the reality...that there are no miracle transformations. Regardless of what you see advertised, it takes a lot of time, hard work and dedication to reach that after picture. There is no book, web-seminar, on-line class, or conference that will turn you from a novice to novelist overnight. All that educational material can help, no doubt, but you have to do the work! Sure there are exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions, and they are few and far between. The majority of published writers churn out ream after ream of unrealized material before traction takes hold and they lurch forward to the next step.
The cameraman won’t be looking for my after snapshot anytime soon, but I’m also not the same writer I was when that image slowly developed on my before picture. I’ve wrote, and studied, wrote, and listened, wrote, and edited, wrote, and revised, wrote, and critiqued, wrote, and read, until my eyes have gone cross. When they do eventually take that after picture and hold it up beside the before, I’m going to laugh. Signing an agent might someday be the event that warrants a picture, but the transformation will have occurred much earlier.
I am so much more than …before. How about you?