Staying On the Right Track

My beautiful sponge… ruined!

I’m feeling a bit inspired/vindicated coming from Kristen Lamb’s latest blog post, The Five Mistakes Killing Self-Published Authors.  I don’t know that I intend to self-publish in the end, but I certainly don’t want to pull the cake from the oven too early.

If you’ve followed my recent updates, then you know I’m in the midst of major rewrites coming back from the Backspace Writers Conference in NYC.  It was there I learned I still have quite a lot to learn.  And even though I’d taken my manuscript to a higher level, I discovered I still had quite a bit higher to climb.  Discouraging?  Yes, at first.  It’s a hard thing to face, realizing despite how much you’ve grown you’ve still got a little higher to go before you’ve arrived at presentable.

As a writer you’ll reach the point where your circle of friends (the non-writer ones) won’t have much more to say to you for improvement.  They can’t write the story for you.  So while it may be clear enough to read, the tension, the voice, the pacing, the scenes, everything that takes you from mediocre to masterpiece isn’t something most of them can typically communicate.  They come at it with reader’s eyes, and readers are far more forgiving than an agent or editor will be.

That’s where the writing community can come in strong, if you’ll let it, if you’ll open yourself up to it.  I disliked so much the false sense of mastery I thought I’d attained before feeling like a flop at my conference that I was determined from then on out to seek people who could tell me the truth.  I scoured the advice I’d received from agents and I had new writer friends give me the cold, hard truth.

It is cold AND hard, but I knew if I wanted to be a great writer I’d have to face those flaws holding me back and be willing to conquer them.

So that’s where Kristen’s post comes in.  Often we desperately are ready to trade what we want now (being published) for what we most want (being published successfully).  It’s easy to self-publish, but the easy path isn’t always the right one.  I suppose if we’re content to sell maybe a dozen or so copies of our books on Amazon then by all means dump it on there right away.

But if we’re looking for real, lasting success, it’s going to take grueling, patient, exhausting, frustrating, angry work to get there.  Reading her post reaffirmed to me that at least for now I’m on the right track to the success I’m seeking and that it’s okay to take my time to get it right.

How about you?  Do you find rewrites, edits, revisions difficult?  Have you learned anything from it?  What did you think of Kristen’s post?  Tell us your experience in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “Staying On the Right Track

  1. I love this post. I can’t tell you how much I’ve leaned from the writing community. The key is you have to be willing to accept that your writing isn’t perfect. You have to find other writers who are just as serious about the craft of writing as you are. I don’t believe it’s the truth that hurts, but the way we see it. If we believe our writing is good and someone comes along and points out several flaws we didn’t know existed, we become deflated and defensive. How dare you pick on my baby! When what we should do is try and understand why this person said what they said and if it’s advice we should heed. I was in your shoes except I queried with my not-so-great manuscript. I have since found other serious writers who have helped me understand how to write better. Along those same lines, I can spot false advice a mile away. I can recognize worthy advice and try to give it as well. My goal is never to be mean, but optimistically truthful.

    I believe you have what it takes to get there, we all do. All we need to do is be realistic and open to the truth.

    Great post. The fact that you’re learning and improving shines through the words. Keep moving forward.

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