IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome.
We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link above. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list.
I make blank place-holder posts for IWSG, and this one sat empty for a long time. I kept waiting for a flash of inspiration about what to write. In light of my impending blog hiatus, I decided to address the semi-scathing article I posted last week.
In it, I took a strong stand against careless self-publishing. The post generated many cries of support from people who praised my boldness and said they felt the same way, but it no doubt ruffled some feathers. Today I’m going to try to soften the blow.
Two and a half years ago, I got a wild hair to write a novel. I wasn’t 'a writer.' I wasn't even an avid reader. Oh, I’d always liked writing and I had mad language arts skills, but I was absolutely clueless about fiction. Still, I dove in and wrote.
Lucky for me, I had access to a published author. She read my first five pages and told me the honest truth: your characters are too old; your opening isn’t compelling enough; you don’t understand POV. (That isn’t the whole list, but you get the idea.)
She went on to explain that a new writer’s first novel is like their freshman year in college—a first novel isn’t any more ready to be published than a freshman is to graduate. In fact, she said I’d need to write about six novels before I’d be ready to go back and revise / submit the first.
Looking back, I think six is a bit much—according to my critters, I’m apparently a faster study than that—but I understand now what she meant. I needed to practice; I needed to cut my fiction writer’s teeth.
Why am I telling you all this? Because it sets the stage for my next confession, which explains why I feel the way I do.
There was a point, when I had revised my first book and completed the first draft of my second, that I entertained the idea of self-publishing. I had learned many things about fiction, my writing had improved, and I thought my manuscript was ready to be seen by the world.
The problem wasn’t the gatekeepers, it was my perception. I knew just enough about writing to be dangerous.
I’m eternally thankful I didn’t indulge that impatient urge. I would be telling you of a huge regret if I had.
I know IWSG posts should inspire confidence, and I don’t want to send you into a tailspin of doubt, making you question yourself to the point you never take the plunge. I’m simply cautioning you about one pitfall of the journey. Just because you think you’re ready doesn’t mean you are.
Whether you plan to query or publish your book yourself, take time to practice and learn the subtleties of the craft. Wait until you’re consistently getting the kinds of reviews from *honest* betas and critters that you’d want to see posted on Amazon. That’s the time to make your leap.
I'm officially on blog hiatus now, but let me leave you with some
reminders before I go...
reminders before I go...
and Mandy Baggot's Security is set to release tomorrow.
Check 'em out!