Today’s post is a continuation of the lessons I’ve learned as I move forward writing my YA Fantasy novel. Many of these lessons have come from learning them the hard way or heeding another writers advice early on and taking advantage of their wisdom so I wouldn’t fall into the same traps. That is my hope for sharing this series, to encourage other writers out there who struggle with these same obstacles and to celebrate each other as we push through them. Though we may write when we are alone in the peace and quiet refuge of our writing spaces, that does not mean we have to be alone.
Thinking Your Book is Ready When it Really Isn’t and Finally Realizing This Harsh Truth Will Rock Your World For a Few Days at Least
Last week I talked about how disappointment will frequent your writing life. Today, that jerk, Bitter Disappointment, makes an appearance again. (See, I told you, disappointment just doesn’t seem to get the hint that you want to be left the hell alone.) Since all forms of disappointment will keep cropping up at the most inconvenient of times, you have to learn how to combat them, both for your sake and for the sake of your work. The effort is worth it. Don’t give up!
However, realizing that there is a lot of work to be done on your manuscript and gearing up for that is also an important lesson to learn and I learned this the hard way, as I often do learn many lessons in life.
After finishing and revising the first draft, I felt extremely confident that my book was ready. Like, I thought it was ready ready. As in ready to query and write a synopsis for and enter into competitions, etc. When I came to the realization that the manuscript was a far cry from being ready, the whole foundation of my world crumbled to the ground. I was completely downtrodden and even contemplated deleting the file off my computer because I was so hopeless and saw no possible way to revise through all that needed to be improved upon. Yep, classic artist woes right there.
Thankfully, I made a decision to leave my manuscript the hell alone and ended up reading again. I found myself falling in love with character, with voice, with plot and this truly did something magical for me. When I came back to my computer, I was able to brainstorm how to fix the problems in my MS. Suddenly, what seemed like an impossible feat was no longer such a leviathan for me to conquer.
By realizing that the book wasn’t ready, and subsequently realizing how much work I was willing to put into it in order to improve it, I learned that I am in this until the bitter end and that I am going to fight tooth and nail for this Work In Progress. I learned that I am willing to take this MS to the finish line, regardless of whether or not I’m the last marathon runner to finish. Understanding that the book needed to be improved and setting out to improve it has made the book that much better and has made me a better writer for it.
So my real takeaway from this lesson is: keep chugging along, keep telling that scummy scum in the back of your mind that you’re not good enough to shut the hell up, and keep writing. Your manuscript may not be ready today, or tomorrow or a month from now, but it also won’t ever be ready if you give up now. You’ve got a story inside of you that the world is dying to read. So sit down, write it and give it to us already!