Saturday, January 2, 2010
Finish Your Book Already!
Do you know what keeps seventy-five percent of all aspiring authors off the bookstore shelves?
It’s not getting an agent, putting together a killer query, or even writing a bestseller. What keeps them off the shelves is quitting before their book is finished. I’m no different from those writers. I’m insecure about my talent. I’m a bit lazy at times.
I like the idea of publishing my book but the work involved is daunting. First, you have to have the idea, then develop it, write a minimum of sixty thousand words on it. When you finish all of that, you get to start editing and then edit again.
I don’t think anyone ever finishes editing, they merely stop.
Writers get frustrated, I get frustrated. This is why most people quit before finishing Chapter 7 of their rough draft.
Go on, admit it, you have a half-written novel either in your desk drawer or on your computer right this minute, don’t you?
I thought so.
Don’t feel bad, I have two.
Those two novels starts were mostly dry runs where I tried to figure out what I wanted, what I wanted to write, who I was as a writer. Mostly, they were crap. But…if I spent the time to finish and edit them, they might be publishable.
I dropped the ball and that is completely my fault.
My current novel attempt, Plum Crazy, benefited from my failures. I have a better idea of what I want and expect from my book. I’m clear on the general plot including start, major climaxes, and ending but I left a lot of room for improvising. I like to improvise and you have to go with what works for you.
Recently, I’ve doubted my idea, my writing, my voice, basically everything about this book. I stopped writing. Not because the book was bad but because I let my own insecurities strangle my creativity. I let me get in the way of me.
I’m forcing myself to write the next chapter even though I think it’s horrid. Sometimes, I’m convinced that a three year old monkey with a typewriter writes better prose than me but I’m putting the ink on paper. Why? Because you can edit almost any piece of crap into a readable story if you have patience and a dab of talent.
But you can’t edit blank pages.
So if you want to be published, your first and most important task is a simple one. Just finish your darn book.
And while you’re at it, could you write the next chapter of mine?
*Also published under my collaborative blog, Journeys in Ink.