You know, it's really amazing the resources we have at our disposable these days.
(And before you say YAWN, read on.)
I just can't help but feel lucky to be able to read the ka-billion articles, blogs, websites, etc that are out there on the internet. For example, my sister-in-law Emily sent me some articles she found on some site (totally can't remember the name of it) that proved to be really helpful. One article in particular pointed out things that writers can work on to improve their work. Some I had already heard of before- like show, don't tell. Which I honestly don't know if I'm doing well enough. (I think sometimes I'm telling, sometimes I'm showing). But there were other things I had never considered. Like they tell you to use the 'active voice' not the 'passive voice'. Which means, don't use words like: realized, hoped, thought, considered, and wondered.
I knew right off the bat that I use the word 'realize' a lot. Sure enough, there were 70-some times I had used it in my manuscript. Then I moved onto 'wondered' (80-some times), and then thought (200-and-some times!!!). So basically I've spent most of today going through all those words and trying to change them when I could. (I couldn't every time- especially with the word 'thought'.)
There are also so many blogs out there that help with query letters, editing, publishing, finding agents, you name it. The ones I go to most are shown at the side of my blog, but I often find myself at other sites, usually because I clicked on some link that led me there.
The only problem with so much is that sometimes there can be too much. I could totally waste ALL my time surfing just writing sites. And sometimes, actually a lot of times, there are conflicting opinions that can get rather confusing. Like some people say to start your query letter with why you've chosen to query that particular agent. Others suggest going straight into your story. Some say the first thing you should mention is your title, genre, and word count. Others say put that in at the end.
I often find my mind screaming, "TOO MUCH INFORMATION! WHAT DO I DO???"
Well, one of the comments I just got from Barb (another sister-in-law) was 'go with your instincts'. It's totally true. Unfortunately sometimes it's hard to trust those darn instincts when you've got no idea if they're leading you straight or not.
I guess I just need to learn to trust in them. And while I'm trying to do that, I won't stop reading the advice of others. Because people are wise. Me- not so much.