Although being naive has it downsides, I don't think it's entirely a bad thing.
I started writing about these characters in October 2008. I wasn't sure where I was going with it, or how long I'd even stick with it. But the more I wrote the more excited I got to keep going, to prove I could write a whole novel. It went through a lot of changes, including POV and from first person to third.
In my writing diary I had a note from December 2009 stating that I thought I'd be done soon and able to query after the new year.
May 2010, I noted that I'd "officially" completed my first novel.
I sent my first query in July of 2010.
So back to what I was saying about being naive, looking back I realize that I was NO WHERE near ready to query this manuscript. But I thought I was. I was ambitious and enthusiastic. And I queried away. I'm embarrassed for my past self.
But here's the thing ...
If I knew how much work I'd have ahead of me, how many years of writing and learning and querying and rejection were ahead, and how insanely slow and hard the publishing business is ... I might not have stuck with it.
But I did stick with it. Or maybe I should say, it stuck with me. Because there came a point when I wasn't saying I have to keep going to prove I can do this; Instead I was saying I NEED to do this. Period. You couldn't pull me away if you tried.
Let's skip ahead to February 2014. That's right, almost four years later, after working with critique partners and betas, and revising the heck out of this manuscript. I was finally truly ready to query.
So my point is, don't rush. Don't make the mistake I did and query too soon. Get help. Get a second, third, fourth set of eyes on your work. Once my bad writing habits were pointed out I was able to start catching them myself. My writing got tighter and better.
I've found that writers in general are very supportive of one another. There's all kinds of help out there, you just need to know how to find it. I'd still be lost and flailing on my own if it weren't for the wonderful people I've met through tweeting and blogging.
Here are a couple helpful links and hashtags:
Agent Janet Reid is a great source for answering questions about querying.
And following @brendadrake is a must. She hosts #pitchwars and #pitmad. She's really awesome.
Do you have a question? Just ask. I'll do whatever I can to help.