The Joy of Finishing Something! — Redux

7 Nov

I decided to revisit this topic, more as a reminder to myself than anyone else. I need to pay attention to myself sometimes. You probably do, too.

It’s so easy to lose focus in this busy world we live in, which gets more fragmented every day.  I was reminded of this again last night, while I was stumbling through old files looking for something in particular. I did find it, eventually, but in the meantime, here was a file not quite a year old that didn’t look at all familiar. So I opened it and read the page it contained (a full page, single-spaced – 881 words) and thought to myself, ‘where on earth did this come from?’ I couldn’t recall ever having seen it before.

It was indeed mine, as the ‘properties’ told me I was the creator of it, last December. As I read it, it didn’t immediately ring any bells, but then, slowly, a few fragments started to make sense, and I could recognize some of it. But the question still remains – where was I going with it? At the moment, I haven’t a clue, so I’ll just leave it to nap where it is. Maybe someday, I’ll have another flash of inspiration or something, and go back to it

If I’m looking for something else to work on, there are close to 30 incomplete books in my computer. I’ll choose one of them. Some of them have between 20K and 30K words to them, and some are part of a series.

Ah, well. Next year. After all, that’s only seven weeks from now!

So, I hear you ask – why didn’t you finish any of these stories? Numerous reasons, actually, other than just laziness or distraction.

When I first started writing romance novels, the submission protocol was ‘first three chapters and synopsis’. So you hurry up and do that, and hopefully continue working on the book while the proposal makes the rounds of editors or agents. After a few rejections, however, the glow fades a bit, and you begin to doubt yourself. Is it me? Is it the book? The story? The characters?  You never think – maybe that editor (or agent) is having a bad day and won’t like anything at all. And believe me, that does happen!

Or, I never made this mistake, but tons of other writers have, so I’ll mention it. You carefully type up your manuscript according to the instructions, and then, send it to the wrong editor, the wrong publisher, the wrong agent. I’ve never been able to figure out why some people simply refuse to read – and follow —  the instructions! If the publisher doesn’t publish romance, why send it there? Or if the editor prefers science fiction, why send a techno-thriller? Such obvious mis-matches don’t gain the writer any points at all, and frequently don’t even garner a response, as the work goes straight into the circulating file.

It’s very easy to discover the type of books the publisher wants. If they make their wishes known, you should pay attention. I mean, why would anyone want to send an erotic romance to a publisher of inspirational books? Or vice versa?

There are so many reasons a book might not be accepted, it’s really cause for celebration when you finally make it. And let me tell you, it never gets old. Never.

It’s always a thrill to hold your book in your hands. So, keep after that elusive dream. Finish that book! Set realistic goals for yourself, and don’t lose sight of the dream!

Happy writing!

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