I'm going to relate puppy stuff to writing and publishing stuff.
Not so long ago, I was reminded of my love for dog training and all the doggy things involved with that. And I was introduced to a dog sport that I just fell in love with and knew I wanted to compete in. Which meant I needed an appropriate dog. I needed a dog bred to do what I wanted to do. So, I did some breed research and decided on which breed would be best suited to my sport. Then I researched breeders. I looked at a lot of breeders, at their dogs, and the things their dogs had accomplished. Then, I picked the breeder who was producing dogs who were competing and winning in the sports I want to compete in. Then, I put a down payment on a puppy and began the long wait. In fact, it was an 8 month wait from deposit to puppy. But he's totally worth it.
During that wait though, and before actually, I started learning. There's been a lot of strides made in dog training since I trained "professionally" last and since I was considering a new sport, I needed to learn that too. I started studying in January of last year and am still learning.
Now, I'm applying what I've learned in hopes of one day competing and winning in the show ring. There's still a lot of work to be done but I've stacked the deck in my favor. I've acquired knowledge, and still am acquiring knowledge...I have the best puppy ever that is totally capable to do what I want, and I'm willing to put in the time to train hard to get where I wanna go.
Obviously, I didn't get this finished and posted yesterday as planned. I'm still blaming the puppy. :-) Today, I think I might get it finished. At least, I'm hopeful.
Now, how does this relate to writing? First, we may have an idea, or maybe we might have the whole plot in our heads. But...we must learn our craft. We must study good writing...and bad. The bad so you know what not to do. Reading good writing is a really good way to learn how good writing reads. Someone said we have to write a million words to really learn how to write. I'm not sure about that...because if you ever stop learning, you need to quit. There is always something you can learn about writing. How to write more descriptive exposition, how to tighten scenes, how to show character through actions, for example.
Then we must do the writing. This is our practice or training. It's so easy to not write. Procrastination is is horrid thing that often attacks writers. Once our manuscript is finished, we must show it to the world...or at least a small part of it.
This is like a practice trial or match for dog events. As writers, we use a critique group to see what aspects (scenes, dialogue) needs to be worked on. We send our manuscripts to beta readers to get their opinions and observations. We get them back and work some more polishing or rewriting.
While all this is happening, we are looking for places to show our work. Whether it's a dog trial or agent, there must be research.
Then comes the day we compete. We sent our manuscript or query letters out to the places we've researched. If we've done our homework, put in the time and effort, then we are winners. No matter what the judges say!