Monday, August 30, 2021

It's Time To Let Go

One of the things we push for all writers to have is persistence. In this business, it is just too easy to give up and walk away. We get rejections. We get writer's block. We lose contests. Life gets in the way. There 
are just too many easy ways out. For authors, this is also an easy way to just blame the lack of writing on something else. 

Persistence is truly an important skill to have in your arsenal as a writer. HOWEVER (and this is a bit HOWEVER), persistence can also be a big problem with writers when it turns into blind stubbornness. This occurs with not only new writers but also with authors who have been "around the block for a while. 

Let me explain...

Let's say you are working on your manuscript and have sent it out to a couple of critique partners. They have all given you mixed opinions on the story, so you are off to make ALL of those changes. Then, it is back to the critique partners and it now feels like you are going backwards again. Suddenly those first changes don't work and you are now heading in a different direction with your story. Now, we have a couple of things here. It might simply be that you are with the wrong critique partners. But, it might also be a situation when the story is not going to work out at all. You can make all of the changes you want with the story but it is simply the wrong story. It might be the way your are thinking it, the wrong time or simply a bad idea. 

Keeping on with this story is a situation of stubbornness and not persistence. 

Here is another one.

You have sent your manuscript out to editors and agents you have clearly researched. And yet, the infamous rejection letters start rolling in. Every one of the letters is saying the same thing. No, this is not a time to just start sending it out to other editors and agents. Look at those comments. It might simply be that this is not the right story at all. Going back, re-writing and then resubmitting it may simply be a complete waste of your time. That is time where you can learn from those comments, and build a new story with those comments in your mind as you craft the next story. 

Here is another situation. Yes, editors and agents say there is no problem submitting new projects to them after they have rejected the first or second one. Sometimes it is timing. Sometimes it is a situation where you were just growing as an author. BUT... here comes the stubbornness. You have submitted 5 projects to the editor or agent and every time, they have rejected you. There is a pretty good bet that this is not the place for you. Writing ANOTHER story and submitting it ONE MORE TIME is not going to fix the problem.

Last situation... and this one is for you published authors. I have heard this from several writers who have been in this same situation. You send your story out to get some great reviews and it doesn't matter what you send to this one particular reviewer, it always comes back as a 3 out of 5 stars or just a "meh" story. You don't get it! Everyone else loves it. Why not this person. And yet, what do you do? You send another project and get another "meh" review. What does this tell you? This is not the right place to send your stories. You simply will not win.

I am always reminded of our wonderful friend Dory from FINDING NEMO. As they are hanging there in the whale, she tells Marlin that he has to let go. But then, she goes on to say that it is going to be OK. I get that you love that story, but sometimes, that story, or that editor, or that agent is not going to work. Move on. It will be OK. 

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