Today I read a blog by Jane Friedman titled HOW LONG SHOULD YOU KEEP TRYING TO GET PUBLISHED and it provided me with some insight on my journey. With my last manuscript, I constantly asked myself if my work was good enough, but being a novice in this area I had no idea where I really stood. I wish I would have read the following advice from Jane’s blog before submitting to agents:
“Good” gets rejected. Your work has to be the best. How do you know when it’s ready, when it’s your best? I like how Writer’s Digest editor and author Chuck Sambuchino answers this question at writing conferences: “If you think the story has a problem, it does—and any story with a problem is not ready.”
An easy way to assess and fix a manuscript. I knew there were a few minor problems, but I thought it’d be okay. Obviously, my manuscript screamed novice and I didn’t even realize it.
Although my current WIP is not my first or second novel, I still feel as if I am learning things. According to Jane, (Yes, we are on first name basis, even if she doesn’t realize it.) “Many first manuscript attempts are not publishable, even after revision, yet they are necessary and vital for a writer’s growth. A writer who’s just finished her first manuscript probably doesn’t realize this, and will likely take the rejection process very hard. Some writers can’t move past this rejection. You’ve probably heard experts advise that you should always start working on the next manuscript, rather than waiting to publish the first. That’s because you need to move on, and not get stuck on publishing your first attempt.” And I would add that many third and fourth manuscripts are not ready, but are vital to a writers growth. I know I’m still learning new things from my current WIP.
However, my favorite advice from her is this:
“At the very beginning of this post, I suggested that it might be nice if someone could tell us if we’re wasting our time trying to get traditionally published.
Here’s a little piece of hope: If your immediate thought was, I couldn’t stop writing even if someone told me to give up, then you’re much closer to publication than someone who is easily discouraged. The battle is far more psychological than you might think. Those who can’t be dissuaded are more likely to reach their goals, regardless of the path they ultimately choose.”
And to that I say “amen sista” because I’m compelled to write the stories bursting in my head.