Wow! What a great time I had at the LDStorymakers conference in Provo, Utah, this last weekend. It was so great, seeing everyone and hearing so many inspirational stories of failure, trials, and ultimately success. Writing is definitely a contact sport. You have to be willing to work hard and get a lot of rejection. Even authors you think must have coasted to their big contracts saw lots of setbacks most people don’t know about. In the final class I did, (see the video below for a spoof of how James and I came up with it) James mentioned something I saw more and more of. It is the need for patience.
As writers, you would think we would understand that writing takes time, and good writing takes even more time. A quality manuscript can takes months or even years to write. Then we take months more to rewrite it. Then we take years to get it published. We know this, and yet we are always looking for a shortcut. Just a few thoughts I’d like to share from some things I saw or heard.
Don’t be in such a big hurry to get your manuscript out to an agent. A fast no is not better than a slow yes.
Just because you typed “the end” does not mean you are done. The best authors I know rewrite many times. Are you really so much better than NYT Bestselling authors that your work is sellable after the first pass?
More than ever, editors are requiring authors to submit higher quality manuscripts. With many publishers cutting staff over the past few years, they are looking for manuscripts that they can take to committee without massive rewrites. Get plenty of feedback and put in the work before sending your baby into the world.
It is not as hard as you think to go back and fix a broken story. Don’t have a strong enough villain? Go back and make him stronger. Realized your world isn’t as complete as you’d like? Take it a chapter at a time and add more detail. Remember, diamonds don’t come cut and polished.
Finally, that query letter. I know you are anxious, but do your research. Get feedback. Make your query the best it can be, so your story will get the look it deserves.
The same advice can be applied to life. The best things don't come fast. Give yourself permission to take an extra week--or month--writing your story if it means you get to spend a few more minutes every day playing with your kids, or getting enough exercise, or being with your spouse.
Here’s a fun little movie I made of James and me coming up with our Q&A workshop—which was a blast to do!
Here's the link: