My story is a little backwards. I started to write one night and within a month or two I had a 100,000-word novel. I was definitely putting in effort, and I thought it was fairly decent for a first draft.
Then, and this is a big ‘then’, I decided to do a little writing-related research, and I found absolutewr!te dot com (that site is a godsend for writers).
Yeah, my dialogue was punctuated incorrectly, I was filtering all over the place, my plot was for shit, I had no concept of deep character viewpoint (though by some miracle I managed to avoid any POV slips, probably only because I was writing in 1st person)…..this list could go on forever. So I logged in some serious time on my new favorite website, and I made myself go back and revise my ms (yes, even all the dialogue punctuation), even though I knew it was beyond salvaging, because I wanted the lessons to really sink in.
A few months later, I started on my second ms, and it was dramatically better than the first. Astoundingly better. That one’s resting, and I’m on to my third, which is already shaping up to be even better than the second. And AW is still my favorite website.