Those were the years when I knew that whatever flowed from my pen was to be treasured. Gifts from the muse were not to be taken lightly or altered. To be truthful, I still believed that through my college years and I have notebooks full of puerile poetry to prove it. (Did you catch the alliteration there? Good.)
When I returned to writing in my middle thirties, I approached it as a discipline. In the past decade, I have worked at the craft of writing every day. My daily discipline can include writing, editing, reading, and/or critiquing, but it is the equivalent of a musician practicing scales. This is my practice.
I have learned some vital lessons:
1--There is no single word so important it cannot be cut.
2--The muse does not suddenly appear to gift you with your masterpiece. You have to do your part too before she will light upon your pages, your pen, your tongue.
3--Re-vision is a process of seeing, imagining. *re VISION* Take the time to look at your work in a different light. Edit may be a four letter word, but it is a sacred work.
4--There is no such thing as perfection. If you use a critique group, trying to follow everyone's suggestions will not leave you with a better work. If you are mixing paints and mix in every color, eventually it will be baby-shit brown. Don't do this to your writing. Honor the spirit of critique, but also honor the spirit of your vision.
5--There will be days when each word tastes bitter. You believe you will never be a writer. There will be days when each word bursts with the sweetness of a berry in your mouth. You are convinced that everything you write is brilliant. Neither of these is true.
I am certain this wisdom is not original to me, but I do think that every artist needs to discover it for him or herself.
May you walk the path of wisdom as you pursue your craft.