Today I officially completed my latest manuscript. But is a story ever truly finished until it is published? No. Okay, we’ll call it "finished" and ready to go out the door. Now comes the long process of submitting it to agents and editors. Perhaps entering it into more contests. Why is this a long process? Because editors and agents are extremely busy, their desks and shelves piled high with manuscripts. As most of you writers know, it can take anywhere from a week to two years to get a response. The more usual response time in my experience is four months to a year. Quite often you can have another manuscript or two completed by that time.
Some people I know (non-writers) wonder why I keep writing books when I haven’t sold yet. Several reasons. First, I’m one of those people who has tried to stop writing but can’t. I always come back to it. I only feel I’m being true to myself when I’m writing. Another thing, if I want to be published, I know I have to keep forging ahead. I’m not giving up. Stubbornness--er... I mean persistence is an important word if you’re trying to break in. With each successive book, I feel that my craft improves, my voice becomes more clear and defined. I stretch and grow in new directions. Or at least I hope I do.
I once heard that Danielle Steele wrote five books before selling. Early in my writing "career" I figured if I had to write five before selling, I could. It would be hard, but I was willing to put that much time and effort into it without monetary reward. Okay, so I’m past five, up to book number seven. What gives? Books four, five and six are still out with editors and agents. So it could still happen. Trying to think positive here! :-) For me, the writing of the first, second and third books was the hardest. They were a joy, too, but sometimes writing them felt like a journey of a thousand miles, on foot. (When will I ever finish??) With each successive book the process becomes easier. Or maybe only this last book was easier. I was incredibly inspired to write it and I knew where I was going with it. (Book number eight, please be easy to write!) P.S. I took the above picture earlier this year near my house.