I’d like to take a moment here to give a little telling of my experience with writing. Specifically, my experience with writing once I realized that in order to become a published romance author, I would actually need to develop a little discipline.
You see, it took about seven years struggling over a single manuscript to come to the understanding that it simply wasn’t gonna be enough to write only when I felt “good enough.” I would have to commit to writing every day. No matter what. Whether I felt inspired, energized and full of luscious ideas. Or empty, dark and certain I was hack.
I had to write.
Every day (or reasonably close to it).
No matter what.
That first finished manuscript (the seven-year one) taught me more than discipline. It also taught me about the submission process.
I was not yet a member of RWA… silly me, I thought I wasn’t ready for such an esteemed organization. Little did I know then all that RWA had to offer the aspiring and clueless writer.
Anyway… I scoured the internet for info on how to submit a manuscript. I learned the difference between agents and editors (is it terrible to admit I wasn’t sure which did what?!). I discovered new words to add to my vocabulary… Query. Synospis. And I studied their make-up and tried to understand what differentiated the good from the bad and the totally trashable. I learned about formatting and preference. I sucked up tid-bits about etiquette and expectations.
I submitted that seven-year manuscript and I learned about rejection. Many times over. I actually rejoiced at those early responses that said “thanks, but no thanks.” Getting those rejections meant I was in the process. I had gotten this far and I was not turning back.
That first manuscript is tucked safely away in my closet, no telling if it will ever again see the light of day.
In the meantime, I started and finished my second manuscript. This one took six months to complete, including revisions. It flowed from lucid dreams like strange exotic honey. I thought, “I can totally DO this!” I wrote for a couple hours every day, usually in the early morning. I thought about my story as I fell asleep and jotted down notes throughout my day. I was full of inspiration and confidence. The process was frighteningly easy.
I love that story. I love the characters, the setting, everything. It was The Love of a Pirate, blurped on My Writing page. It was the “story of my heart” and it showed me that I was capable of MORE.
She was submitted. And was rejected. I found it harder to rejoice that time.
I am able to look at that manuscript now and acknowledge it as another important stepping stone. I can see where I need to make it deeper, richer and clearer. I use it as my gauge to see what I’ve learned since then. But trust me… Pirate will see the light of my computer screen again someday. When I am ready, I will incorporate what I’ve been learning into that beloved manuscript and will send her back out into the world for another chance.
My third manuscript…? Well, that experience was another about-face in my path to developing my writing process, and is perhaps better left for my next post.
Until next time…