How long does the warm fuzzy feeling of success last before you're aiming for the next rung on the ladder?
Like Christopher Mohar, one of our presenters at the Writer's Institute Conference said, we don't need a license to write. And we don't earn one either. There's no test. Anyone can pick up a pen (or in my case play the keyboard on my laptop). As writers, we're constantly learning. (Even the successful ones. Or so I'm told)
We're constantly trying to maneuver ourselves around the next curve and over the next bump in the road.
erica and I discussed this while walking from our hotel to the conference center. We admitted to each other that we don't just write to write. I don't rewrite, revise, edit, etc just for my own happiness and well-being. I do it because I want the best dang manuscript I can possibly write to submit to agents. Because to me success is becoming a traditionally published author. (I'm absolutely NOT saying that anyone who chooses to self-publish and market their work is anything but successful. It's just not the path I'm choosing to take.)
However, or maybe I should say luckily, I have may other tiny rungs on my ladder to success to keep me climbing. (And believe me, without them, I'd give up for sure. I guess I'm just not that strong of a person. I can take the harshest criticism. Keep it coming, but unless there's some encouragement (and I don't mean "You can do it, Christy.") to let me know my writing (manuscript) shows a glimmer of talent (however buried it may be), I don't want to waste my time or anyone else's.
Before I knew anything about any of this writing/publishing world, all I wanted was to complete my first manuscript. check. Then, I started a blog. check. I attended my first (online) writing conference and got my first critiques. (okay, I didn't feel so very successful at that point, BUT learning was/is a really thick rung and I'd made it there. so check.) Then I made writing friends. check. We gained followers for our blog and more friends. check. I read more and more blog sites and continued learning (yes, learning occurs at more than one rung). check. check. I attended a real writing conference. check. I got feedback that made me think I had something. I started thinking of myself as a writer. check. I'm a writer!
So, I've gotten that far.
Do I have setbacks? Yes. For every "good job/gold star" there's about five setbacks. But that's okay. Because I do write because I love it. I do write my stories because I love them. So...there's that.
Mostly, I don't want to spend years on just one manuscript that doesn't have "it". I've heard from several successful writers that they'd spent gruelling amounts of time on an early manuscript only to move on and complete a new one almost instantly. AND it was the one that poured out of their pen that sold. And sold. And sold.
Just the other night (Weds night to be exact.) Kiersten White was on #yalitchat on twitter and said that she wrote Paranormalcy in three weeks and its sequel in two months. WHAT?!? I'm guessing that even if I were to write a bestseller that magically wrote itself, it'd take me at least four months. She also said she rarely has to rewrite. Her first drafts are pretty solid. (I'd love to reach that rung!)
Not that my WIP is going to be a best seller, but the first page of it (that I wrote, edited once, and submitted for the hell of it) won third place in a first page contest. (Against my completed novel's first page.) My completed novel (completed twice, actually) that I'm just about ready to query, and have been working on for a year and a half, hasn't won a pitch contest, two first line contests, a first page contest, nada. Not even an honorable mention or runner up. The WIP is 60% done and hasn't caused me many problems at all. My completed novel has been nothing but trouble. BUT I love it and right now I am not going to take my own advice, based on Kiersten's experience, just yet. (You know...to give up and move on.) Maybe it's taken loads of work and time, but deep down, my inclination to keep perfecting it is as strong as the one to drop it. I'm not ready to give up yet.
|image credits here|
After a year and a half of writing, I am here---------------->
You know....even after I get the top of that ladder, there's still the moon. And then the stars. Hmmm.
Once I'm published I'll want it to be a bestseller. You know that, right?
And then there's the books to come.
Maybe it's not a ladder, but a carousel.
oh, and a book for M
now on our TBR list:
Matched by Ally Condie