We just got back from visiting our son in New York. He’s in culinary school and is finding it both overwhelming and yet also incredible. In talking to him about it, my husband made a great analogy. “It’s like learning a language. At first, absolutely everything is new, so your brain is completely overwhelmed by all the ‘stuff.’ It feels like you’ll never get it figured out- all the new vocabulary, the new pronunciations, even new letters, depending on the language.
Yet…. when you look back after four or five months, you can see how much progress you’ve made. All of a sudden you realize you’re now speaking in full sentences, maybe even full concepts! And you know lots of words…. lots more than you ever thought you would.”
Cooking school has been EXACTLY like that. There’s no way to be prepared when you start. It turns out you don’t know ANYTHING. You don’t know basics, like how to cut things up, how to prepare basic sauces, how to do what you feel like is the most simple thing. Any technique you had before, or knowledge you had before, goes out the window. You need to start over and learn it all again, and this time the “right” way. Now, after two months, he’s starting to realize he’s learned a TON already (but, of course, there’s a TON more to learn).
For me, this whole “blog” thing and getting my novel published has been similar- overwhelming and also incredible. I thought I would NEVER be able to write a whole novel- but I did. I started with some basic ideas of the plot and of the characters, and I made myself just start writing. And a funny thing happened. As I was writing, characters’ lives became more clear. From personality traits to interactions, the “stuff” started to fall into place. And now, two years later, there are still moments in the process, just like there were in the writing, that are overwhelming and I wonder if I’m ever going to get there.