TUESDAY WRITING TIP – TO WRITE OR SUBMIT

I’ve been kind of busy lately…okay, I’ll admit that life has been completely chaotic. And one of the things I’ve realised recently is that it has taken it has toll on the quality of my writing.

Letters to Leonardo came out last year and had lots of positive reviews in national print and online media. It’s still being reviewed on blogs and just last week I had some great feedback from readers with comments like ‘amazing, fantastic, and it’s brilliant’.

Of course there’s nothing more rewarding for a writer than getting that sort of response to your work, but when readers ask you when your next book’s coming out, you really like to be able to tell them.

So I have been frantically rewriting and tweaking my two follow up YA manuscripts all year in the hope of getting a publication date for at least one of them. Publishers schedule so far ahead and time seems to be slipping by so fast and I have been worried that people will forget who I am, and that they liked my book.

But you know what I’ve realised? None of that matters. I can build another profile, I can reconnect with my readers. I hope that Letters to Leonardo fans will find my next book when it comes out, but apart from promoting it as much as I can through online, media and personal appearances, the rest is really out of my hands.

In reflecting on the whole publishing process I’ve  rediscovered that what’s really important is the writing. That’s why I’m a writer. I LOVE writing. Of course I want people to read what I write, but when it all boils down to it, the writing is the most important thing. And when you are busy worrying about when your next book is coming out, your writing suffers.

This is what I mean. While I have been flitting from manuscript to manuscript in the hope of getting one of them across the line, my characters have faded. In the chaos of ideas and people inside my head, individual characters have fought to be heard. I have struggled to identify who they really are – to find their original voice.

So now I’m bringing it all back into focus. From today, I’m going back to doing things the way I used to – before I worried about getting my next YA novel published. I’m going back to working on a single manuscript.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to win the Published Author section at the CYA conference for my YA manuscript, Cutting The Ice and from now on that’s the one I’m going to focus on.

I really like this manuscript and I’m going to take the time to immerse myself in it again – to get to know my characters – to carry them around in my head until I know them so well that they tell me where the story should go.

I still believe you have to have ‘something’ out there with publishers because no news can be good news, but from now on I’m not going to spread myself so thin.

As writers, it’s so hard to juggle writing with submitting and I guess for me this recent journey has been all about finding the balance.

I’d love to hear how you balance your writing with the ‘business/submission side’ of publishing. So feel free to leave your comments at the end of this post.

Happy writing.

Dee:-)

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15 thoughts on “TUESDAY WRITING TIP – TO WRITE OR SUBMIT

  1. Writing is so much more fun than submitting- probably do to the volume of rejections!Even one simple submission takes ages to get just right and requires organisational rather than creative skills.
    There was a period of time quite recently when I was so hungry to get published that all the joy of writing got sucked out and I’d sit at the computer huffing with the chore that was ahead each day, because the getting published bit took over.It was like crossing over to the Dark Side!
    Plus a look at the business end of writing- promotion, negotiating contracts etc is really very frightening when you haven’t even been there yet.
    As a relative beginner, like me, I feel it is far more important to be engaged with the process of writing and seeing it for the cool activity it is, polishing skills, sharing work with writing friends and learning from others.
    Submission is there for when the time is right and intuition will tell you when that is, I reckon.

  2. Dee, ultimately its the writing that counts- we can be distracted by ‘other things’ I know that has been in my past journey to where I am now, but it is a joy and a career and we need to write- whether its a daily quota. I know I feel extremely unhappy unless I’ve written- at the moment it’s a 1000 word quota- more is fine…best of luck with your work- you have the passion and the determination and the talent. Write!

  3. I look forward to the words of wisdom too! Alas, I don’t have any. I seem to lurch from “Lawks, I must submit more!” to “Lawks, I must write more!” to “Lawks I must promote more!” with lots of permutations in between.

    Immersing yourself in one manuscript makes such good sense. That way the characters are talking to you most of your waking moments, and your subconscious mind is working away at problems and possibilities. But I do like having several projects in play because if I get stuck, I can switch.

    To tell the truth, Dee, I guess I don’t have a best way. I just have a “now” way!

  4. Thanks for your very wise words, Tracey,

    I know what you mean about becoming so immersed with submitting that you forget the joy of writing, which is why I realised I needed to get back on track.
    It is a very cool activity isn’t it?

    Thanks again for your comment and good luck with your writing.

    Dee:-)

  5. Thanks BookChook,

    I know what you mean about having several projects happening at once in case you get stuck, and I have been doing a bit of that. But I’m trying the new way now – working through the stuck bits and just writing till I get to the end.

    Wish me luck:-)

    Dee

  6. Excellent post, Dee, and it so resonated with me at the moment. The balancing of writerly business with actual writing time is getting harder and harder to achieve. Not just with submissions but in keeping up with all the social networking, blogging etc too. Part of my enterpreneurship subject discusses time management and alloting time to the business end and blocking in time to write, network and take care of admin bits and pieces. It’s part of my plan this week to finish my draft timetable and then to put it into action. It should work twofold. One, ensure I keep up with everything, and, two, ensure I don’t spend too much time on the “wrong” things. I’ll let you know how I go. Best, Chris

  7. Hi Dee, I think you’ve come up with a very good plan for now. Writing loses a lot the fun when we focus too much on the next publication and self promotion. They’re necessary of course, but sometimes we need to turn our back on them for a while and just write. Enjoy! Sounds fun.

  8. Thanks Katrina,

    I totally agree. I’m still keeping up with my blogging commitments but I’m trying to schedule them to allow more writing time. So far it’s working and I’m enjoying being back with my characters. I replotted my entire novel yesterday and I think I’ve got rid of all the bits that weren’t working. I’m also getting to know my characters better. Next week i’ll be ready to launch right back into the writing in earnest. I’m going to aim for 2,000 words a day. Wish me luck:-)

    Dee:-)

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