Welcome to the end of NaNoWriMo. I hope you met your goals or at least got some good writing done. I know this month was rough for me but that I’ve had a lot of success figuring out the plot of my new story and that is a wonderful outcome for me!
Since there are a lot of sparkling new manuscripts out there right now I’m guessing many of you are thinking—what now? Do I start querying agents? Send this baby out to some small pubs to test the waters? Just how big is an average advance? And how big is an above average advance because, you know, my story rocks!
No! *slaps your little writer hand* Stop. You do none of those things. You know what you do after binge writing a whole book? You put it away. Yup. You heard me. You put that pretty little thing away. No matter how amazing it is, no matter how much your mom loved it, you put it away!!
Use the next few weeks to work on your query or research something for another story, exercise a part of your body other than your fingers or to catch up on the four weeks worth of Walking Dead you missed while typing. While you are doing all those awesome things, something great is going to happen to your novel. All the flaws you didn’t see before, the ones that a potential agent, editor or reader would see right away, they are going to float up to the surface and where you were once blind, you will now SEE. For real—look it up. It’s science.
Sometimes we need distance from our writing to see our errors and our genius.
There is such an obvious importance to the moments where we find out horrible errors, flaws in logic, BAD WRITING and say, “Oh my gosh, did I really write that?” We want to be good, don’t we? At least we get a chance as writers to make our work right before we let people read it. I love singing and have performed many times in my life, but the one thing that freaks me out about singing solos is that it is just one moment. Even if I’ve practiced flawlessly I worry that if I mess up in a performance then that is how I’ll be remembered as a singer. Now, as writers we have the opposite situation. We can flub all we want as we write our first draft, second draft, seventeenth draft, and then present something lovely and polished to represent ourselves at the end. If we have the opportunity to represent ourselves in the best way possible, why not take it?
Yet there is just as much value in finding and then recognizing the beauty in our work. I love reading through a story after letting it sit and do that science thing I talked about earlier and finding those sparkling moments where I think, “Did I really write that?” These are the same words we use for when we recognize our flaws, but said in such a different way. I think that it is these moments of identifying our talent, rather than in the actual act of writing the words, that we become writers.
So take that shiny Word doc you’ve become so intimately acquainted with and put it away for a little while. I promise that you’ll thank me when you take it back out and see how to make your hard work=good work as well.
Also, don’t forget! If you’d like a chance to win one of three advanced reader copies of my newest book, WHEN I’M GONE, you still have time to toss your name in the ring. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter before December 15th, 2015. I’ll announce my winners in my first newsletter. Good luck!