Is the manuscript ever finished?
Last night I finished revising my middle-grade manuscript for what feels like the 100th time. Everytime I do this I think . . . Done. Complete. They are gonna love it!
Then I edit it again or have someone else critique it and it starts all over again.
Yes, this is, as I have quickly learned, the life of a writer. But each time I do this, labor over a word or feeling, my work gets so much stronger. A change of one or two words could mean a good sentence becoming a moving, feeling, story-altering experience.
So, yes, patience and perseverance are virtues I must posess.
In my first blog, I wrote about the end of the innocence, sending my first queries. My writer friends told me, start slow, only send a few, if you get rejections, (oh, wait, when you get rejections) it might mean changes need to occur either to my query or my manuscript.
Well, I am strong enough to admit, I am no longer innocent.
I am starting slow, but did get a couple of rejections, and boy, do they sting. They knocked the wind right out of my sails, that’s for sure. And, did I cry? Of course, I’m a crier you know.
My friends and family are always so supportive. But this writing world is a strange beast. Those same writer friends said it’s okay. This is a long process of many ups and downs. Ride the wave, enjoy the adventure, and of course, grow thicker skin. Even after medical school, residency, being a working pediatrician, and now motherhood of three kids, I have still yet to figure out how to do that.
But, after all, if I don’t love the writing/rewriting and querying process, why am I doing this in the first place?
I visited my first writing teacher, Barbara Bietz, author of Like a Maccabee and all around beautiful person, at her work at Chyten Educational Service. She was the woman who opened the incredible world of children’s book writing to me. I showed her my first rejection email and she smiled, gave me a big hug, and said, “Welcome, you are now an official writer.” And I’m sure I’ll be official many times over. But each time, I must stand up, wipe my (probable) wet eyes, and continue on with the process.
A few days ago after my second rejection, I was feeling pretty down. I love my manuscript- what are they not seeing? My writer friend, who has been going through this querying rollercoaster for some time, got the email that dreams are made of. An agent wanted to talk to her! She had all but given up on this novel and was now knee deep in a new one. But, this agent saw in her manuscript what she had seen all along. He loved it and he wanted to be her agent! What a feeling. And just what I needed. Success! Not mine? Maybe. But the process, the heartbreak, the blood, sweat and of course the tears, it’s all worth it when you do what you love! So at least for now, I will live vicariously through my friend, Robin Reul, (Congrats!!) and work, write, improve, dream, and enjoy (at least most of the time) the process.
Happy Writing and have a wonderful day,