So many new authors rush. I know this because, of course, I did. Hurry, hurry, I finished a book finally. Send it out, out, out. I hope I learned my lesson on that count, but you know, I still get that jittery, anxious flutter to be submitting.
A few weeks ago I ran into something of the opposite problem, and it caught me by surprise. Considering that I'm a low on patience kind of gal, it hadn't really occurred to me that someone could have too much of the stuff.
I've been doing writer's workshops and also a lot of beta reads for friends and other authors that I've met. We have an active writer's group, and our goal is always on getting the work ready to go out. Out, into the wide, blue world where the readers live.
But at this last writer's workshop I had the pleasure of critting for gentlemen whose stories I've done a few times now, and who always entertains the shit out of me. He writes well. Sure, he has a few errors here and there and we always find something to critique...that's what crit groups are for. Still, I just assumed he was taking the feedback, applying it to the story, fixing it all up and sending it on its merry way...out, into the...you get it.
Except he's not. He's putting them aside and trying again. He asked me the oddest question too, and the thing is still nibbling away at me. He said, "when do you know you're ready to start subbing?"
My answer was terribly in-eloquent. I think I choked on my coffee and sputtered, "you're not subbing?!!"
He isn't, and despite my charming response, I don't think he has any plans to in the future. But....but...he's so good. Also, he's professional, polite, and cares about his craft. He is focused on improving and can take feedback.
And I have to ask myself, why is it that the authors you want to work with are hesitant and the ones who are rude, impatient and convinced of their own brilliance don't even question if the should be sending out their work? They send send send. But this person, who writes a brilliant tale, has a drawer full of stories I'd want people to read that will not get sent out because there were some comma glitches? Egad!
Now I feel like banging my head on desk. I want to inject him with confidence serum or something, but of course, I know he's not alone. I know intellectually that you have to believe in yourself enough and your story enough to jump off that cliff--and it's not easy (it shouldn't be). But the idea of that drawer of stories still haunts me.
Be brave, authors. Certainly be humble too, tread professionally and without a sense of entitlement, yes. Work on your craft. Read the how not to be a douchebag articles, etc. But please go forward! Save your stories, repair them, shine them up and SHARE them with the world. Or try, at least. It cannot hurt to try.
It will hurt to find that drawer years later and wish you'd been a little braver. It hurts me now, just thinking about it. If you're getting the feedback (not from Mom, sorry) that you're stories are worth sharing...do them a favor and share them.
No lost stories. (putting that on a T-shirt or something)