Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Writing Garbage Is Fine, Publishing It Is Not

When do we find our best ideas? When we aren't working on the thing that is giving us fits.

I am sure you all know just what I am talking about here. For some of you, the best ideas show up in the middle of the night when you are sleeping. For me, when I am stuck on something, I head to the kitchen to cook, or I start working on chores around the house. For writers, it might simply be time to dump the manuscript you are working on and start on something new and completely different. In those moments of relaxation and stress-free writing, you may stumble across the answer you were working on with the first story.

But here is the twist that so many authors. Because that other project just flowed so nicely when you were writing it, and, because you were really enjoying that stress-free writing, DOES NOT MEAN that story needs to be published. In reality that project is most likely lacks what it takes to be publishable. Now, this does not mean it can't be published, but don't plan on it.

The simple reason that this second manuscript "feels" so good to work with is because you weren't trying to make it good. You were simply playing around and having fun. The other story was a struggle because you had to work with it, to make the story good. In other words, writing is tough and you have to work hard at it to make it good.

I think of this as those "rebound relationships." You just got out of a relationship that might have been going well and then had a harsh break up. You are an emotional wreck and your friends tell you to just get out there and have fun. Then you meet someone and suddenly you think EVERYTHING is better. But, does this mean "this one" is the keeper. Probably not. Things are just great because you aren't working to make the relationship good.

Lady Antebellum's BARTENDER is really saying what that second manuscript is doing for you. Here's what they say:

What I'm really needing now
Is a double shot of Crown
Chase that disco ball around
Till I don't remember
Go until they cut me off
Wanna get a little lost
In the noise
In the lights
Hey bartender pour 'em hot tonight
Till the party and music and the truth collide
Bring it till his memory fades away
Hey bartender

Tonight I'll let a stranger pull me on the floor
Spin me round and let 'em buy a couple more
But before it goes too far I'll let him down easy
Cause tonight is all about
Dancing with my girls to the DJ
Put that song on replay

But, as the song says, you need to tell that other story that you are going "to let [it] down easy"..."before it gets too far."

Now, just like everything else in publishing, there are no fixed rules. Maybe that second story does work out, but right now, don't plan on it.

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