Friday, September 01, 2006
Several years ago, before I went on a very long writing hiatus, I had a certain zeal about submitting paper manuscripts. My writing wasn't very good then, a lot of those old manuscripts make me cringe to read them now, but the thing was I felt productive. I was producing and getting my work out there, and that was something in itself.
I'm far more reserved about manuscripts now. I have a more critical eye when assessing what I've written and it's potential. I can't even begin to say how much getting epublished has helped cultivate my writing. Working with an editor helps tremendously--you see your mistakes, you get constructive criticism and you learn ways to better yourself as a writer.
It has been at least 10 years since I submitted a paper manuscript. Most everything I do now is electronic--everything from writing, to submitting, to reading books. In fact most of the paper books I tend to pick up these days are from a very small set of authors, ones that I have on auto-buy. I'm actually collecting their books rather than just picking them up for reading, so I buy them on sight.
The rest of the paper books I buy are new releases I hear about and am specifically looking for, or old gems I come across at a second hand bookshop. Either way, those books are few. Not because I don't like taking chances on new books, but because the hot futuristics and paranormal titles I look for tend to be available online!
Well, a few weeks ago, I went to the second hand bookshop and found a book that normally wouldn't be to my taste. It was a historical romance about Vikings, but it was from very popular writer who has written tons of romances over the years. I've read one or two of her books here and there, and after I read the back blurb of this one, I thought it would make for an interesting change and so I bought it.
I finally sat down to read the book yesterday, and I was stunned. There were several writing no-nos in there, right on the very first page. I could just picture my editors standing over me with a ruler in hand, thwapping me on the knuckles if I had written that. It took some mustering to make it through the first two chapters because the no-nos were frequent and very distracting, but I finally slogged through it, and by that point the book either started to smooth out, or I finally managed to turn off my internal editor enough to get into the story. Once I'd put the book down, I was about two-thirds of the way through it, and I couldn't help thinking about the style of that book and my own writing.
I've thought about trying to sell a book into print for a while, and I've even thought about companies I'd like to target. But I never felt quite ready. I always offered up excuses to myself like: I'll wait one more month. Or, maybe next year because I have another short story I need to write first. Okay. Right on. Am I queen of stalling or what?
After reading that book the other day, I realized I am ready to take my chances with a print manuscript again. Stalling over the fear of rejection and not being worthy somehow isn't doing anything but holding me back. I hold myself back. In the long run, that's just begging for unhappiness. All I can say for myself is I better get writing. Excuses are no longer an option.
**On another, lighter note, there are nifty things afoot over at the Midnight Moon Cafe. The lovely and talented Cassandra Curtis has posted the cafe's first round of flash fiction. Be sure to check it out!