Missed Opportunities

Today I was reminded of one of the benefits of self publishing – you do things on your own time and don’t have to feel like you missed an opportunity.

In this morning’s email sat a message from one of the publishers I follow, declaring that they were now accepting unsolicited manuscripts. I read the post two, three times, racking my brain for possible submissions and cursing myself for each one’s inadequacy.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to get myself out there and prove to myself that I didn’t have to be afraid to show others my work. It’s not that I think that the writing on my blog is a masterpiece or even necessarily publishable. But I did think I might get some feedback and encouragement. And at the same time I made a rookie mistake. I treated writing like it was a hobby, something casual to do when I had the time.

My hard drive is full of half-finished pieces, barely-started novels, outlines, character sketches and all the little things that mark the beginning of something. I don’t think I have anything that signifies the end – something that could be sent out as, say, an unsolicited manuscript.

It’s easy to say that I’ll finish it later, that I need more research, that I need to be in the right mood. But the reality is that writing is a test of fortitude. It’s easy to write the beginning of something, when the possibilities stretch out before you in all directions. It’s less easy to finish something. And then there’s the really hard part: going back and tweaking, untangling all the inconsistencies, turning it into something that a stranger could read an enjoy.

I’m trying to establish a writing regimen so that I actually get things done. I want to re-flesh some of the old skeletons buried in my hard drive, and turn them into submissions. Where I’d submit them, I have no idea, but even if I change my mind and take steps toward self-publishing, well, that would be an opportunity I created for myself.

My fellow writers, I salute you! Be steadfast, and good luck with your submissions, if that’s the kind of writing you go for.

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4 thoughts on “Missed Opportunities

  1. katemsparkes says:

    It’s hard, but it’s so rewarding. Best of luck on your revisions, re-workings, re-fleshings and edits!

  2. James Ramsey says:

    My advice…find one of those started fics and run with it. Find someone you trust, like and respect and ask them to read what you’ve got. Beta readers are invaluable. If you find the right one, the questions they ask will set off a cascade of brainstorming. New details, plot points and twists will start falling into place.

    The number one this I have learned on my journey to finishing a manuscript (three year journey) is that it takes a village to see it through to the end.

    We all have unfinished stories and ideas, character sketches and plot lines scattered on our hard drives. I have five half finished fics, two plot lines and another two outlines all hanging out in my laptop. the key is to keep writing.

    • forgingshadows says:

      Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right, the best thing to do is hit the ground running and push through to the end. I was really good at that in high school, but unfortunately my writing wasn’t good enough for it to yield a strong novel. Now that I feel I have the ability to write something people would want to read, I have a hard time getting it done.

      Jane Yolen, who is one of my favorite authors, used to say that she had a filing cabinet full of stories. If she got stuck on a story she was currently writing, she’d just go over to the filing cabinet, put it away and pick up a new one. She has now written almost 300 books. So I’d definitely say that you’re on to something there.

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