No, You’re (Still) Not Ready to Publish

From my 2011 archives…

Don’t you hate it when the Inner Critic is right? After years of being shoved aside and trampled, he gloats over fleeting opportunities to jump up and down and yell, “I told you so!” and it’s so annoying.

It’s not easy to admit, but many of us are probably among the 99.9% of writers who mistakenly thought our brilliantly written and endlessly polished first novels were ready for launching. In hindsight we know better, but at the time we were enthusiastic about their chances in the market.

I read of one writer who said, “Don’t tell me first novels never sell. If I believed that, why would I bother to finish mine?” When we first begin writing, the naïve mindset is like a protective cloak… “we don’t know what we don’t know.”

My husband quotes one of his professors as cautioning, “For the first ten years in ministry, don’t preach on Revelation. After that you’ll know better than to preach on Revelation.”  As writers we could use a similar admonition — something along the lines of, “Write your heart out on the first book but steel yourself to the reality that it’s only a learning experience.”

Reality sucks! But it’s not as if we expect a new surgeon to immediately perform brain surgery, or a beginning athlete to compete in the Olympics, so why do we expect our first novel should be bestseller material?

Anne Allen wrote an excellent post on “12 signs your novel isn’t ready to publish.” She directed it to those who were tempted to self-publish too soon, but her ideas make good sense for all of us seeking publication. I particularly like the simplicity and sense of her comment, “All beginners make mistakes. Falling down and making a mess is part of any learning process. But you don’t have to display the mess to the world.”

Yes, we worked darned hard on that story and we’d like to reap some benefit from the effort. Well, guess what? We did. The benefit is in the education. We read and wrote and learned. Part of what we learned is how little we actually knew before we began the process. Part of what we will learn tomorrow is how little we know today.

When more experienced writers warned me about the Inner Critic’s unreliability, they didn’t suggest how to react on the odd occasions when he might be right. I’m sorry, but there’s no being graceful in the face of his taunts.

“I’m learning with experience. So shut up already!”

If someone knowledgeable told you the book you are currently writing would never sell, would you finish it anyway, or stop where you are?

~

Ostrich Photo by anankkml
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The Long Road to Publication

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For the past few months my aunt, Norma McGuire (aka Nonie Vogue), has been working on a special and very personal project – a chapter book for children. It contains bedtime stories that were told by her now deceased husband to their children and grandchildren. Each chapter recounts an adventure of an old fishing boat captain and his young friend.

The manuscript for JOHNNY AND MR. FREDERICKS* has been read and re-read, revised, edited and proofread multiple times. Accompanying illustrations have been sketched. A website has been created. All that remains is to find a publishing home for it.

Despite all the telling, writing, editing, revising and illustrating, that ‘all’ is probably going to be the longest and most difficult part of the journey. Those of us who are still looking for agent representation or a publishing contract of our own know all too well how distant that view can sometimes look, especially when the rejections roll in and the waiting seems endless.

Pursuing a dream takes more than just work. It takes hope, courage and determination as well as patience and persistence. Throughout her eighty-eight years Norma has shown all those qualities, although she’s not one to sit around and wait for things to happen.

I’ve mentioned some of her accomplishments before. She’s a photographer, she paints and she quilts. Throughout her marriage she worked alongside her husband who was a commercial artist. Years after anyone else would have retired, she created a line of hasti-notes from her own paintings. In the past four-or-so years she has been knitting for a homeless mission: so far, exactly 155 toques and 126 pair of mitts, as well as 72 tiny toques for newborns in hospital, with who knows how many more to come. During the past two years she has also filled seven leather-bound journals with wise quotations and stories from her life to create ‘treasure books’ for her family, every page accompanied by a sketch or watercolour painting – to date, 572 of them!

Somehow I don’t think she’ll have any trouble seeing this book publication project through to completion, regardless of how long it takes. She’s a ‘glass-half-full’ kind of person and already has the goal in sight.

* JOHNNY AND MR. FREDERICKS
Stories as told by Harry C. McGuire
Edited & Illustrated by Norma G. McGuire

http://johnnysadventures.wordpress.com

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The sound of writing versus silence

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In my continuing offline hiatus, here is another re-run from 2008.

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I suspect many of us who write are convinced that publication validates our efforts. Mystery/Suspense author Sandra Parshall said, “A writer needs readers to make the last link in the creative circle. A story that is never read by anyone other than its author is incomplete. It’s a bird singing in an empty forest.”

But wouldn’t that bird sing whether or not anyone was there to listen?

Some insist that a writer is one who writes, while an author is one whose writing is published. That makes me wonder if the credibility of a writer is diminished because his words have not become public.

While it’s not my goal, I admire those who sing just for the joy of the song.

~

What’s your opinion? Is the writing of an unpublished writer less valuable than that of published ones? Do you think there’s a point to writing if we don’t intend for anyone else to read our words?

~

No, You’re Not Ready to Publish

.

Don’t you hate it when the Inner Critic is right? After years of being shoved aside and trampled, he gloats over fleeting opportunities to jump up and down and yell, “I told you so!” and it’s so annoying.

It’s not easy to admit, but many of us are probably among the 99.9% of writers who mistakenly thought our brilliantly written and endlessly polished first novels were ready for launching. In hindsight we know better, but at the time we were enthusiastic about their chances in the market.

I read of one writer who said, “Don’t tell me first novels never sell. If I believed that, why would I bother to finish mine?” When we first begin writing, the naïve mindset is like a protective cloak… “we don’t know what we don’t know.”

My husband quotes one of his professors as cautioning, “For the first ten years in ministry, don’t preach on Revelation. After that you’ll know better than to preach on Revelation.”  As writers we could use a similar admonition — something along the lines of, “Write your heart out on the first book but steel yourself to the reality that it’s only a learning experience.”

Reality sucks! But it’s not as if we expect a new surgeon to immediately perform brain surgery, or a beginning athlete to compete in the Olympics, so why do we expect our first novel should be bestseller material?

Anne Allen wrote an excellent post on “12 signs your novel isn’t ready to publish.” She directed it to those who were tempted to self-publish too soon, but her ideas make good sense for all of us seeking publication. I particularly like the simplicity and sense of her comment, “All beginners make mistakes. Falling down and making a mess is part of any learning process. But you don’t have to display the mess to the world.”

Yes, we worked darned hard on that story and we’d like to reap some benefit from the effort. Well, guess what? We did. The benefit is in the education. We read and wrote and learned. Part of what we learned is how little we actually knew before we began the process. Part of what we will learn tomorrow is how little we know today.

When more experienced writers warned me about the Inner Critic’s unreliability, they didn’t suggest how to react on the odd occasions when he might be right. I’m sorry, but there’s no being graceful in the face of his taunts.

“I’m learning with experience. So shut up already!”

If someone knowledgeable told you the book you are currently writing would never sell, would you finish it anyway, or stop where you are?

~

Ostrich Photo by anankkml