Just keep writing

Happy New Year! Here we go again. I hope this will be a healthy and happy year for everyone.

We are a few days past the celebrations when the world welcomed in 2018, but that’s just long enough to have finalized those resolutions, or already have given up on them. The problem with resolutions is that we often don’t think them through. They are not always realistic.

For example, in 2017 I was determined that I would finish my newest novel by year’s end. I forgot to consider all the days during the year that I might not be able to write. Such as: the week-long trip to visit distant family; the days I was too sick to get out of bed, let alone write; the special celebrations with family and friends; the days I helped a friend or relative who needed me; all the days when reality intruded. You get the picture. You’ve been there.

What I wanted to do was to sit down at my computer every morning at 8 a.m. and crank out about 1,000 words of perfect prose in a plot that would have the Pultizer people banging on my door. HA! What a dreamer I am. Some days I did reach that numerical target; on other days I only managed 200, but they were darn good words, and quality will always beat out quantity when it comes to writing.

I’ve changed my goals for this year. I still intend to write on a regular basis. Maybe not daily, but the best that I can in the time allotted to me. I will still set objectives and personal deadlines, but this year I will forgive myself if I don’t meet them.

Happy New Year and happy writing.

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Time to Rewrite

I have a novel that I completed months ago. I think it’s a good story. It’s a nice romance with some funny stuff in it. I paid close attention to the development of the characters and I researched historical information that I included. It’s also accurate in its description of the town where it takes place because it’s a place I know well. So why have I already garnered so many rejections from publishers and agents? I have a feeling I’m not the only one to ask that question.

We all like to think that what we write is perfect, and that other people should be falling all over it and knocking down our doors to get their hands on it. Wouldn’t that be nice? The truth is sometimes difficult to face. Maybe after months of submissions to a long list of publishers and agents and the matching list of rejections from same, it’s time to step back and take a look at what is missing in the story. That’s what I’m faced with right now.

Mine is a sweet story and it does have a message, and maybe there is a publisher out there who is looking for just such a manuscript. But I knew something was wrong when more than one publisher has requested the entire manuscript after reading the first three chapters, but then rejects it. What this tells me is that I have the beginning right, with enough of a hook to get someone to read it, but something is missing.

So, it’s rewrite time for me. I’m going to take a closer look at the entire book and see if I can add more suspense, or a mystery, or a bigger message, or something. Right now, I’m in the “thinking” stage trying to decide on the direction I will take. I look at this as my continuing education as a writer.
No one ever said that writing was an easy job. Oh, the ideas might come fast and furious and the actual writing can be quite satisfying, but I want to share that writing and the ideas within it to all the readers that I can touch.

If you have been through this too, let me just encourage you to never give up. There is one thing that I have had to do at certain times over the years that might help you also. I never tell people that I want to be a writer. I don’t say that I’m trying to be a writer. I write. Therefore, published or not, I am a writer! Say it proudly and get back to work.