Writing Process: No, you’ve just got to wait

“And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

John Steinbeck, in this awesome 1958 letter

Not everything should be published.

There, I said it. Now before you go:

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Hear me out.

THE INNOCENT ASSASSINS, my first book scheduled for publication, isn’t my first manuscript. Oh, there’s been plenty where that book came from. Almost an embarrassing amount, you guys. Lots of rejections, lots of time spent querying, lots of manuscript revisions.

And by the end of the process, when I had the opportunity to self-publish, I decided not to.

Why?

Because I knew I needed to wait.

I knew that I could produce a better novel; I knew the manuscript wasn’t my best work. I realize this probably has something to do with Chuck Wendig’s “Ten Things I’d Like to Say to Young Writers.” (“You’re not that good.” Thanks, Chuck. Really appreciate the support.) But he’s right. Early work isn’t that great. I made a lot of mistakes, probably used “have been” way too many times, and didn’t understand what a character arc actually was (aside from the fact that it was supposed to be in the shape of an arc).

That’s not how I felt about THE INNOCENT ASSASSINS. I can honestly say if Astraea Press hadn’t picked up the story, I would still self-publish. That’s how strong I feel about the plot and the story’s message.

“Waiting” has nothing to do with self-publishing. By all means, I believe 100% that when a writer knows he or she has a great story to tell, the work should be self-published. But if the confidence isn’t there, it shouldn’t be. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move on to the next story!

Keeping a story on the back burner doesn’t mean all that time writing was a waste. It’s time spent developing a writing style and learning more about yourself as a writer.

Sometimes? You’ve just got to wait (and write some more).

In the words of Danny Castellano,

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