Granted, I wrote the majority of my Nombie novel in November of 2012, nearly a year and a half ago. I tried to make myself feel better by thinking about how far my skill had progressed in that time. But there was a small voice in the back of my head that asked, "Have you really gotten better? How do you know?"
So, I wasn't feeling very good about my craft. I told my husband about how I was feeling and comparing my writing to that of others. He said, "Everyone learns Stairway to Heaven."
(Some background on my husband; Not only is he a kind-hearted hilarious cheerleader that will take a chainsaw to my work when I ask him to, he is also an incredible musician, in particular an incredible guitarist. He has been playing nearly since he could read, and it absolutely shows. Anyway, back to the story.)
He told me that no guitarist that has worked their chops will ever look down on a beginning guitarist for learning Stairway to Heaven. It is something every beginning guitarist does, and none of them do it well. But they will not be looked down on for it. It is almost a rite of passage. It is a beginning stage. And once the beginner has mastered it, they will move on to more complex music. No one starts out at the level of John Petrucci. Everyone has to get through the Stairway to Heaven phase first.
A bit of a reality check, really, and deservedly so. The Nombie story is only my second attempt at a novel ever. It is wildly unrealistic to think that I will be writing at the level of someone who has been at it for ten years. It is also an encouragement. Once I can keep my strings tuned, I can focus on my fingering, then timing, then dynamics, and when I've gotten that down I can move on to more complex rhythms. This is not permanent, as long as I keep practicing :)