I felt so accomplished when I wrote “The End” on my first manuscript. It was an achievement I had worked on for two years and felt so proud of. As a “newbie” I donned my rose-colored glasses and went about the process of doing minor revisions before sending out my first queries.
I was dismayed after receiving numerous form rejections, but this was to be expected. I knew getting my first MS published was a shot in the dark, but I persevered. That was until I went to my second writers conference. Luckily, it wasn’t a conference where I had to book a hotel and a flight. It was a local writer’s event in my hometown and promised to be helpful. I was sure that my MS was gold and just needed a few tweaks before it could be published. My concept and MC were original – it was bound to happen. Right?
It took me about an hour into the conference to realize how wrong I was. At the agent’s panel they went over the do’s and don’ts of queries. Then someone asked the agents what they were tired of seeing. Two agents from the same well-respected agency looked at each other and then repeated verbatim my story idea, plot, as well as everything down to the hair color I had chosen for my MC. Oh cr..! I was sunk. What was I going to do? All that hard work down the drain.
I licked my wounds for several weeks after that and then woke up one morning resolved to come up with an even better MS. I sat down and plotted and outlined for days and then wrote my next MS in six months. I was so happy with the results that I went and pitched it at a writers conference in NY. Imagine my elation when I got two requests for pages from MAJOR publishers. Needless to say, I did the happy dance all the way home.
I was cautioned though that I should really be sure my first 50 pages were as polished as possible before sending. I toiled for months. Then I learned that one of the editors no longer worked for said “major publisher.” That’s all right I thought, I’ve still got one on the hook.
Well, here I am six months later and I still haven’t sent anything to the second publisher. Why? You may ask. Is it fear? Worry that my pages aren’t worthy of going to a major publisher? Honestly, I don’t know the answer. I am still here today toiling and moaning over the smallest detail. I finally gave in and sent my MS to a professional editor for help.
Was this the right choice? I’m still wondering. He had some great comments and suggestions but it means a major overhaul and I’m left wondering if I’ve got it in me right now. As soon as I sit down to write, I open my word documents to other stories I’ve got boiling rather than my current MS. There is something holding me back and I’m not sure what it is. IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY.
So I put this out there to all my fellow writers (published & unpublished). Am I the only one in this writer’s quandary? Unable to let go of a project that perhaps should have seen the inside of a drawer a long time ago? Let me know. I’d love to hear your stories.