Someone recently asked me, “Aren’t you done with that book yet? How much longer is it going to take? Why do you keep changing it? Just send it in—see what happens.”
I’ve been writing longer than some, less than most. Am I published? Except for a few short stories online, no. Is it in my plans? Absolutely! Yet as much as I’d love to have that first contract, I refuse to rush through it. Right or wrong, I’ve taken the same approach to writing as I have everything else in my life. I jump in head first, learn all I can, and ask questions later. I know at some point I will type the words, “The End” and mean it. That will only happen, though, when I can read through the entire manuscript without picking up my red pen.
Let’s face it, all first drafts are crap. Sorry, but I’m suspicious of any person who claims that he or she can complete a novel in two or three drafts. Personally, I've lost track of how many times I’ve edited my manuscript. Creativity doesn’t come from a set of formulas and rigid templates. It comes from a vivid imagination, an open mind, and the willingness to accept change. By the way, I found that the best changes have been the result from the most brutal critiques, but that’s another post.
I’m close. Very close. But anyone who is serious about writing understands the demands on their time. It’s been a conscientious decision of mine to do this and I’m very fortunate to have a family who understands and respects the sacrifices I’ve made to achieve my goal. What a waste it would be to not strive for the very best.