I've been writing for a long time. I was an English major in college, and my current position requires a fair amount of writing. I write and revise curricula. I write resident and medical student evaluations. I peer review for a couple of journals. I've even published a few articles.
One of the things that I had always fantasized about writing, though, was fiction. I am a decent medical writer, I think, and I figured that would translate to fiction writing at least a little bit.
Not so much, it turns out. About a year ago I joined a local writers' group to try my hand at writing non-medical pieces. And, even though I intellectually knew that I was in for quite a challenge, I had no idea just how much. Writing fiction calls for a whole new skill set - developing believable characters, compelling plots, rich settings, and, strong dialogue. I am having a lot of fun learning, though, and the other writers have been patient, honest teachers.
I learned to play the piano before I learned how to sing. When I first started learning how to sing, I knew how to read music from playing the piano, but that didn't help me learn how to hit pitches and use vibrato. Similarly, being a competent medical writer helps me construct sentences, but that hasn't made learning how to write fiction much easier.
For the first time in a while, I am new at something, and that newness is accompanied by nerves and humility. It is, perhaps, not a bad reminder about how all of those new interns feel this month. And though part of me wishes that I could fast-forward through the struggle of learning to write fiction, part of me is also enjoying the process of discovering technique and my own writer's voice.
I hope that I can always find something to be "new" at.