Sunday, July 23, 2006


"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

So I had an epiphany today.

I figured out that I have to finish something and submit it in order to be published.

Yeah, I know. Duh.

I read a lot of blogs of first time published authors and crave their excitement about their book being published. But I have yet to submit a novel anywhere.


I have several drafts of several stories finished but not edited.

What's holding me up?


No, wait, that isn't big enough.

Absolute terror.


I also have this perfection issue. When do we decide when something is good enough? How do we know? I can write and rewrite something forever. When is it done?

I'm considering something out of character for me... and for the ladies in my writing group, please don't hit me.

I'm thinking about not posting everything there. In the past, I've posted sequentially, chapter by chapter. And, usually, by around chapter fifteen, I'm so tied in knots about the differing opinions that I can't write another word. This person loves something that another person hates. Or one person is confused by something that another person thinks is dreadfully clever writing.

I know I shouldn't allow opinions to sway me. I should be confident in my vision. I should march steadily on and damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!

But I'm clearly not.

So, I may only post the occasional scene that I want to share or need some help with. And when the draft is done (DONE!) to the point that I like it, I may share it with one or two people whose opinions I value and whose writing ability I admire for a read through and some general opinions.

Of course, that's if they'll be open to that, because they are writers, too, and also have that thing we call "a life" to think about so they may be a little busy.

I'm beginning to think, however, that I need to write for me first.

I know. Duh, again.

I'm torn between writing for the love of it and writing for the business of it. I've sworn I don't want to compromise when (WHEN!) I'm published, that I want to pub with a print publisher. But as I think about things, I wonder if trying to conform to their specific requirements may hinder my ability to write what I want to write.

I'm babbling. Sorry about that. I'm pretty certain that my novels are a little more coherent (at least I hope so).

What about you? Those of you who have writing groups -- do you post everything? If so, how does it help and how does it hurt? If not, why?

Do you think outside forces are more of a hindrance to your creativity, or inner doubts and conflict?

C'mon. Babble with me.


Judy said...

Don't worry... I'm not here to hit you. :-)

RE: "I'm torn between writing for the love of it and writing for the business of it. I've sworn I don't want to compromise when (WHEN!) I'm published, that I want to pub with a print publisher. But as I think about things, I wonder if trying to conform to their specific requirements may hinder my ability to write what I want to write."

My .02 worth -- write for the enjoyment and love of the craft. You are a talented writer and your enthusiasm, characters and what you write will carry you a long way. The first step is to, as you said, FINISH. At that point, and when the manuscript is as good as you think you can make it, then try to find a home for it. As far as writing towards a particular market... I don't think you should. I was trying to do that with Fiona and it's just not that story. I will probably keep some of the elements that I included because of that market, but first I want to write the best darned story I can write.

For what it's worth... that's my babbling for this morning. Now, off to Green Sister to see who I might kill off.... ;-)

Ceri said...

I've come to the same conclusion. I have to write for myself. If others like it (ie publishers) then thats awesome. I have a wip that I know would never fly with the likes of Harlequin. My heroine is in a mentally and physically abusive marriage and she's got very little confidence in herself. She is also in love with the hero and vice versa. They consumate their relationship while hubby is out of town. And there's a scene where hubby beats the *bleep* out of her and she returns it in kind (heck of a scene to write). Yeh, Harlequin won't be bustin down my door for that one. But I don't care. It fit. Maybe it will never get published because of it.

I belong to a crit group but I don't post there until I have a complete manuscript where I'm fairly happy with my editing. The crits are basically finishing touches, looking for the things I missed.

So, that being said, I have to get back to transforming my novella into a full length.

lhjxwsl-little horses jump x's with soaring leaps

Charity said...

I started to comment, then realized I had my own blog entry on my hands. I figured the comment thread could do without my 500-word or so opus on this.

Pam said...

Dear Maria,

It is never a good thing to be tossed and turvied. (Yes, I make up my own words.)

Do what you must. What writer worth her salt can't respect whatever decision you make?

I'd miss your posts, but because I'm selfish, as long as you offer feedback, it will be okay. :-)

Writing for the business of it? Being able to sustain a livable income from writing is a dream I haven't even prayed for--that's how far it is in the distance in my mind. In the meantime, I write stories I would like to read.

But, of course, a marketable product presented to the right agent or editor...what can be wrong with that if it's the story you wanted to write, with minor alterations, from the git go?

There can't be a right or a wrong way--just what works best for you.
If you believe that, maybe you can find serenity in your choice.

Hope so.

(It's okay to value another person's opinion and perspective, but reserve the right to totally disregard it because he/she is NOT in your head and CANNOT tell your story. Writing by committee doesn't work.)

MaryF said...

I absolutely agree you should keep the story to yourself. Protect the work. Protect your love for the work. I can't tell you how many stories I've written that stalled because I announced them to the world and people made me question myself. But when I write for ME, that's when my stuff is successful.

Tori Lennox said...

As I've said elsewhere, I'm writing for my own amusement. When/if it becomes something I can sell, all the better! But if I'm not amused it won't get written.

darcy said...

I have tons to say on this but I don't know where to begin -- or end. Please know that I DO think this is a positive step. I have faith in you.