The Pressure To Jump In Too Soon

Is the growth of the internet putting undue pressure on newer writers to jump into the publication waters too fast?

Recently, I was emailing back and forth with a “younger” writer. And during the course of our conversation I began to hear some of her frustration in not knowing what to do with a particular manuscript. I had the sense that she was jumping in too soon and because of that was losing her love of writing.

The more I thought about her situation, the more I began to wonder: When young writers (those who are still working on their first book or two) join the online writing community, are they immersed in the industry too early in their careers?

Let’s face it, the more we read other writer blogs, hear what others are doing, and broaden our knowledge of the writing business, the more we begin to want to become a part of the process. We make more friendships. And we begin to see the accomplishments of our fellow writers—contest finals, agent requests, and growing platforms.

The fact is, newer writers are already excited and anxious for publication without internet pressure. It's hard enough to have patience. Therefore, when we get involved in the cyber writing world, eventually, we might begin to feel left behind or the pressure to keep up with what others are doing—even if we’re right where we need to be.

The internet wasn’t around when I was writing my first books. I was blissfully unaware of what other writers were doing. I spent my time writing and growing and developing my love of the craft. There weren’t any “voices” to discourage, distract, or dissuade me from letting creativity and passion rule.

But newer writers today have the pulse of the writing industry at their fingertips. And while there are an incredible number of benefits to being intimately connected to the industry, young writers may also be feeling undue pressure to do too much too quickly. And once under the pressure, they may soon find the love and joy of writing zapped from them.

I think newer writers, those close to the beginning of their writing journeys, need to take the pressure off themselves. And they need to give their creativity and love of the writing process time to develop. They can do that in several ways:

1. Focus primarily on our writing.

Put aside the pressure to develop a platform—there’s time for that later. Sure, it helps to blog and develop friendships early, but we should give our stories our primary attention. For all the talk about blogging and the importance of social media, the STORY and SKILL of the writer still sell the book (for fiction-writers).

2. Give ourselves the freedom not to edit a book.

Sometimes when newer writers begin editing their first book or two, they find the book needs such major work that the editing bogs them down. Yes, every writer needs to learn how to edit—and they will. But there’s a difference between remodeling and complete makeovers. The work and effort of complete makeovers are daunting to even the most seasoned writers and have the power to crush the joy out of someone less experienced.

3. Allow ourselves to put aside a book. (Even if it’s not finished.)

I admit. I have several unfinished books sitting in a dusty closet. I got part way into the stories and didn’t have an impetus to keep going—probably because of poor plotting. Whatever the reason, some stories just don’t have the drive that’s necessary. If we have to put one aside, then we need to learn from the experience and challenge ourselves to grow before moving on.

4. Give ourselves permission to explore various genres.

Even though now I'm a die-hard historical romance writer, my first five completed novels were contemporary (and they’re in the closet too). When I finally realized I enjoyed reading historicals the most, I began to dabble with writing one—finishing only half. The Preacher’s Bride was the first historical I completed. It took the exploring to find my passion. Recently, I’ve started writing my fourth historical.

5. Don’t worry about what other writers are doing.

Each of our journeys is so unique. Yes, we have the opportunity to see what a LOT of writers are doing thanks to the internet (and we can learn from each other). But we can’t lose sight of our needs and what works best for us.

I realize what I’m advocating may not be popular among the writing community where the drive to get published often seems paramount to the love of the writing process. But I believe if newer writers don’t use caution and guard against the pressure to move too fast, they’re likely to burn out and lose some of the joy of writing.

Do agree or disagree? Do you think growth of the internet is putting undue pressure on newer writers to jump in too fast? What other advice would you give “young” writers to guard against the pressure?


  1. I do agree - I spent thousands of years (ok slight exaggeration) writing before the internet even came into existence! I do wish I'd become involved in the writing community sooner however.

    great post btw!

  2. I agree. I'm not really a new writer, beem writing since I was young, but I am new to the business, and the pursuit of being published. I also heard the "You must have a blog, and tweet to be noticed" So I have begun that, and do feel that I'm being left behind. But not because of others succeding, but by the fact that publihers aren't publishing as many books as they use to, so it feels like I have come in at that right moment. Although, the birth of ebooks, may mean a completely different thing in the future and perhaps an advantage. who knows

  3. Goodmorning everyone!

    Greg, I can understand the feeling that you need to jump in while you have the chance, before the doors close all the way. Interestingly, I felt the same way several years ago when I first started querying. It was a discouraging feeling that traditional publishers are taking on fewer authors and that perhaps there wouldn't be room for me. And while it's true the market is tough, I've now learned that there IS room for those who persevere and take the time to grow in skill. So I would encourage everyone, that if I made it in, then so can you. Don't give up hope.

  4. I am thrilled to have stumbled here, so many wonderful and encouraging posts. I am a fairly new "writer" with only a few published poems but I have dreams of allowing my story to develop into more. Thank you for these tips!

  5. Fascinating post! I do think it is tempting to jump in too soon and that writers joining the online writing community should recognize that developing their writing will still take time.

    For me personally, the opposite was true. I was blissfully unaware of how complicated and intricate the process of publication could be. The time I have spent doing research online has convinced me of the need to slow down, perfect my writing and learn more about the industry before jumping in.

  6. Great advice. I think newer writers here about those stories where a writer grabs an agent on their first book and they have to make sure that's not them. But just a peek into the query world will let them know. Even for writers with a couple books behind them - it's okay to decide not to edit a book and move on. I think it's better to go with your best book, best idea - even if it's the one you are about to write.

  7. I have noticed a shift in the advice given out this year compared to last year. There seemed to be a lot more excitement and yes pressure to be actively doing i.e. blogging, submitting (if you are a real writer). This year the emphasis is more on learning the craft, taking your time, not subbing too early and ignoring the noise. Whether that is because the industry is visibly suffering and there is no point burning out if you have very little chance of getting published anyway. I don't know. But I am loving this return to concentrating your efforts on writing, learning the craft and reading. The pressure just fades away when you focus on what really matters.

    By the way my reivew of The Preacher's Bride is in my Valentine's post today. :)

  8. Jody, I couldn't agree more with this post. This was beautifully put. I, too, think young writers tend to over commit to "building" the many aspects of their writing career before their writing is even at the level it needs to be.

    But once that mistake is made, I think there are many ways for that young writer to pull back and develop a plan of attack that works for him/her. Maybe the young writer looks at the realities of their goals, cuts back on how often they blog until they find the voice they want for that blog, and maybe the writer takes a few months to do nothing but read craft books and make notes, and read A LOT in the genre they want to write in. I could go on and on, mainly, because I speak from experience.

    Great advice, Jody, as usual!!

  9. I hope every new and emerging writer reads this post. It can't be emphasized enough that it has to be about the writing, itself.

  10. I want to second your point about exploring different genres. I, too, write historicals. I, too, have several contemporary novels in my computer. Sometimes I think it actually helps to write outside the genre you love because you have more objectivity about the writing and you learn a lot in the process.

    The biggest thing I try to reiterate to young writers is that your first novel will probably not be your first published novel. That's not only ok, it's fairly normal!

  11. I love what you said about how the comparing and pressuring ourselves can make us lose our love of writing. Such a great point. I find myself getting anxious sometimes about my own self-perceived deadlines etc. whereas a few months ago everything I was doing was "just for fun" and for the love of writing and helping others. Great reminder to get back to the basics and why we began in the first place.

  12. I agree! I have manuscripts written early on that need so much work that it would be less daunting just to keep the idea and start fresh. Which I may do someday! The important thing was the writing of them and what I learned from each one. I think new writers need that time to explore.

    And like you, I took a while to find my genre--I think my first abandoned manuscript was adult, something along the lines of romance or popular women's fiction. Once I discovered children's books, I never looked back.

    Lots to think about here. Thanks for a great post!

  13. YOur last point is the hardest one for me to do, Jody. I get so jealous when I see other writers promoting the you know what out of themselves and their books and I just don't have the energy or inclination to do it. But then, I am not a young writer just starting out. If I were, I think it would be different. So I'm just focusing on my writing for now. What will be will be when it is finished.

  14. Thank you so much for point number 4: explore other genres. Lately I've been beating myself up for no particular reason about writing in a genre that I normally don't read. I'm confused and intrigued and captivated by my story and I want to figure it out, but I felt stressed and anxious because I didn't know if it would be publishable or if I would be any good at it. Thanks for giving me permission to play and write and figure out the profession on my own terms.

  15. I really couldn't agree with you more, Jody.

    I feel your last point is the most important one there, speaking as a new writer only now really entering the online writing/publishing community. It can be tough getting past the first big hurdle of finishing a manuscript, then suddenly seeing the many ways others are getting involved and making things happen for themselves.

    It's a hard thing to do, but we have to accept that, not only will we not be able to seize every opportunity that we see, but also that not every opportunity is necessarily the right one for us. I'm sure in hindsight it's esier to say "I was right to ignore that contest because it gave me time to complete my manuscript and send a successful query." But at the time, it can really feel like a game of chance, gambling on which opportunity or course of action will reap the greater reward.

  16. I think you make an excellent point, but I also think it is possible to strike a very useful balance between the writing and the social media, or platform-building.

    I started on Twitter about a month ago and started my blog the day before yesterday and I was starting to get really pulled down by all these published authors doing their author thing and there is so much advice and toing and froing on Twitter that it can really make you feel as though you aren't doing anything at all, just standing still.

    However, I met some very interesting people on Twitter - other writers who haven't been published, published authors and social media people, all of whom are good people to know.

    I started my blog for two reasons: a/Twitter does Flash Fiction Friday and I realised I couldn't participate if I had nowhere to post my fiction and b/a platform is important and takes time to build. I estimate that I should (I hope) have a publishable manuscript in a year's time. If I start my blog now and keep it going, I will have at least something of a platform by then.

    And the blog has, ironically, helped me rediscover my joy for writing. Just writing about it (my first post) made me remember that yes, this was what I loved to do. This morning I posted my first piece of flash fiction (at 1000 words it's not particularly 'flash' but you know what I mean) and that was a joy as well.

    If you can strike a balance, you can do both. If you can't, you are absolutely right - focus on the writing.

  17. I agree. Too many new writers want it all now. Then again, I think that's the way this generation acts about everything. LOL I'd rather take my time (and I'm doing that) and come out with a smashing hit rather than barely make any sales. But, that's just me.

    Lynnette Labelle

  18. I guess going mostly from my journey and those I know a little better, I'd have to disagree. When I first started writing, there weren't blogs and all this information at our fingertips. Queries were sent by snail mail. And I think that lack of knowledge made me jump into things way too soon. I didn't have the means in which to study up on agents guidelines, or a way to get a critique group or (besides books) learn more about the craft, so I figured my next step was to start submitting. I wasn't anywhere near ready but I didn't know that at the time.

    As far as building a platform, however, I could see how new writers would feel pressure to do that. But, because we all do have so many opportunities and information available to us, I'd encourage new writers, even ones who are further along in the journey, to take advantage of what we can and take advantage of what established writers say.

  19. Yes, absolutely! When I started out, the internet was brand new. Everything was done via snail mail. My critique group met IN PERSON! I'm not a new writer. I've been writing seriously for about 15 yrs. During most of those years, I was relaxed and writing books/short stories/poetry, and taking classes. I can't believe how much stress and pressure I've put on myself by going online. It's a different world. I'm thankful for the days when life wasn't this way.

  20. This post made me sigh in relief. I've been feeling discouraged about the publishing business, afraid that I had missed the boat, and worried that I was being left behind, but I'm one of those young writers who still has a lot of living to do and learning about the craft of writing before I'll be ready.

    So I finally made myself stop reading all of the publication and writing blogs. Lately, I've rediscovered my love for writing, I'm marinating in (reading) lots of good novels in many different genres, and have three manuscripts going in three different genres until I find my voice and passion. I'm learning that I'm not in a season of life where I can jump in full time, so I'm just trying to forget the rest of the writing world out there and write blissfully unaware without the pressure.

    Thanks for validating that decision, Jodi. : )

  21. I think you're absolutely right. I just turned twenty one and I've been dreaming of publishing a novel since I was nine. While I haven't had the urge to submit any of my manusripts off to people yet (I've always been secretive of my writing and Type A1 to boot), I understand the frustrations of younger writers. As you said, we can see what millions of people are doing at any given moment, and if it's a step (or a few) ahead of us, we wonder why we're not there (especially if they're the same age... I'm an actor as well, and seeing people my age or younger star in films or on Broadway makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong.) I think a big reason that younger writers don't think there's anything wrong with pursuing publication in their teens or early twenties is that they don't know how much they haven't experienced of life. I feel like I've experience a lot of life, but when I reach a new milestone, I realise how much I don't know. I moved to London from Pennsylvania a little over a month ago and realised just how dependent I still am on my parents, how few financial skills I have... it's hard to see what you'll do in the future, so I guess people figure, why not make the future now, by publishing?

  22. Totally agree. Although many writers say they write for the love of writing--and I'm sure some do--I find that most want to make some money too. The Internet and the stories of epublishing success are tempting to new writers, maybe too tempting. There aren't the same barriers to publication that even vanity presses or true self-publishing had in the past, per the cost of entry. Now for little or nothing, one can publish.

    But I still believe that if you truly want a publishing career complete with rising sales and readership, you have to take the time to master the craft and to act in a professional manner, i.e. get a professional edit, professional cover art, etc.

    Of course, I could be wrong and losing out on some serious cash right now...

  23. Wow! You are so right! The internet speads things up, makes us feel left out, and makes us question our skill among so many other things. YES. Concentrate on the writing. If that is good, the rest will come...(I hope!!)

  24. I agree with everything you've said. I didn't have the Internet either in my life when I began writing, and like you wasn't pressured. I think this is good. Too much too soon IS a genuine problem for writers today. And I worry that they don't take the time to hone the craft. Not all, but some of the self-published stuff has too many flaws, in the writing, the editing, etc.

    An excellent post, Jody. I enjoy reading your insights as much as I'm enjoying re-reading Preacher's Bride. A good book always recommends a re-read (as does a good movie)!
    Ann Best, Author @ Long Journey Home

  25. This post truly spoke to me. I feel like everyone else is rushing past me, and I need to hurry in order to keep up. I force myself to remember that everyone's timing is different. It really is a battle I fight with myself all the time.

  26. Jody, I absolutely agree. I am so happy the Internet wasn't around when I first started writing. I also found it helpful to be a late bloomer when it came to Internet presence -- I started blogging just a few months before signing with my agent.

    I can't imagine the anxiety and frustration that must overwhelm new writers who try to do it all.

    My advice again and again has been to hold off on the frenzy that comes with being out there. It's enough to worry about when you've gotten good feedback from industry professionals. Starting when you're still finding your voice is too much to take on.

  27. You read my mind with this post! I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one (although that's silly, with the Internet, you're never the only one) who felt rushed to try and do everything a writer is "supposed" to do all at once.

    Thanks for this blog! :)

  28. I wholeheartedly agree with your five points and your post's premise that young writers today can feel pressured to do too much too soon. I'm mentoring my real life sister, who's just completed her first novel-length story, and I've told her gently not to expect her first efforts to be ready for submission

    Learning to write is a process that takes time--and plenty of practice. She's watched me invest five years of full-time effort in my journey, which resulted in my first contract, so she has realistic expectations and is heeding my advice to focus on her writing at this point and deal with developing an online presence later.

    I have, however, sent her links to posts with great writing tips. The information is available, so I think new writers would be wise to make use of it. The information available online can be a wonderful resource that can, as Cindy pointed out, teach us when we're ready to submit and help us avoid the mistake of sending our work out too soon. As you said, though, it's important not to use the success of others as a reason to rush into things ourselves.

  29. Wonderful. And I think the cure for that overwhelming thing is to simply unplug for a while. It does wonders. :)

  30. Thank you for this post. I'm a young writer in both senses of the word (twenty-one next month, one short story published), and I have felt this kind of pressure, though I'm sure it comes mostly from myself. I enjoy blogging and learning from other writers, but every once in a while I get a slightly guilty feeling. I think that here I am blogging about being a writer - aren't my readers going to start thinking "When is she ever going to get published?" But when I step back and take the time to think it through I realize I'm not going to gain anything by rushing myself. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  31. I suspect that very many writers—young and old—participate so obsessively in the many online opportunities for writers because they are more in love with the idea of "being a writer" than with actually writing: of doing the hard work, introspection and self-criticism that are so much a part of the trade.

    Writer's forums, and self-published blogs, and "platform-building," and self-branding give people the largely false impression that they are a member of the community of writers. I suppose it does make them writers in some sense, but probably not the kinds of writers they envision, not the kinds of writers who are—or should be—their role models.

    There's much a writer, new or not so new, can learn from the experiences and advice of others that one encounters online. But one will always learn more about writing by writing, than by chatting about it online or posturing as a writer. Young writers, especially, need to ask and answer the question honestly: do I love writing even more than I do the idea of being a writer? If the answer is "yes," then spend your time reading and writing, instead of posing.

  32. As a writer new to the "I'm finally going to try to get published" world, I have to say that I LOVE all the information at my fingertips. Perhaps it does add pressure, but it also gives this busy mom the info I need to pursue my career from home.

  33. Way back when I was writing (ahem, attempting to anyways!) my first novels, we had dial-up Internet. I had the luxury of spending a few years writing assignments as part of a local writer's group before I sat down and wrote my first true book. Four books later, I plunged into building a platform.

    I still had a LOT of writing craft to learn, but I loved writing so much at that point the pressure wasn't there.

    I guess we're all different, but I'm glad I had a few pressure-free years to write before I started my blog and joined social networks!

  34. I agree. I've read from a number of writers I respect (William Zinsser is one) that readers follow a voice. That's what they become attached to, more than any other single thing. It's takes time for that to develop.

    It's also important for writers to experiment and if we're too keen on publication, we'll box ourselves in to one category before we've explored other options. I almost did that. Now I'm so glad I didn't.

  35. Being a newer writer, I found this blog quite helpful. I already have a few manuscripts in that "dusty, old closet." In the process, I have developed a productive story idea - taking it one day at a time.

  36. Oh Jody, thank you. I know I have struggled with this, at varying degrees, for so long that I find I am losing myself. I think there is the fear that I will be left behind...I will be forgotten if I pull out of the online fun. Having said that, I am getting confirmation everywhere to step back and focus on writing. I have limited time due to working full time and I need to choose the wise path.

    I am praying about my path, and I just want to say thank you for your advice. I am always blessed by your words.

  37. Ah... I needed to read this. There is SO much talk about getting a platform early on, jumping right in, yada-yada-yada! But, really, as Donald Maass has said before, a book will "break out" if it's good and readers like it.

    This post is perfectly relevant to your blog's purpose, which is to put the focus back on the writing. Love it!

  38. Excellent advice, Jody! Picking through all the online dos and don'ts can leave a person with information overload, and everyone offers conflicting suggestions. Being able to recommend a good basic book for entry level writers would be so helpful, but even then there are differing opinions as to the best one.

    Perhaps the best advice to a new writer would be, as Susan says, to unplug and just write a few books from the heart. There will be time enough later to develop the craft.

    I wrote for myself for a very long time, and only began searching for help when I finally recognized my dissatisfaction with my work. By then the time was right to digest the available information and address my writing inadequacies.

  39. This post is absolutely true. I feel new writers especially the ones abroad (not in India) are under immense pressure to build a platform (blog, facebook pages and tweet). Many Indian writers are blissfully unaware of these networking sites and just concentrate on writing.

    When I started writing, I concentrated on just writing. Nowadays there are too many pressures a writer has to face and pressure is building up fear and frustration.

  40. Hi Jody. I just finished reading The Preacher's Bride. It was fabulous. I plan to go to Amazon and give it a great recommendation. You did a wonderful job of writing, Jody.

    I don't disagree with you about blogging, but in my own circumstance, I was at the place in my manuscript where I needed help in knowing what to do with it next. A friend told me about blogging, and I've gotten the help I needed to continue toward a finished work. I've never had training in writing, so there was much for me to learn. I mistakenly believed that knowing English grammar and having a talent for telling a story was the whole matter. Not so. I know now. In my case, blogging stopped me from getting ahead of myself. Blessings to you, Jody...

  41. Thank you so much Carol Ann! So glad that you liked the book!

    And yes, I can totally understand what you're saying about the internet (much like what Cindy Wilson said above). I admire those who are able to use the wealth of information available on the internet without caving into the pressure to rush things. Because, as you said, we can really learn so much about the craft of writing, get suggestions for good writing books, find critique partners, etc. So, yes, the internet can really help. But I think young writers have to resist the urge to let it push them too quickly into the publication waters.

  42. I agree--I tossed my first few books because the editing would have been so discouraging--I really didn't know what I'm doing. With this fifth book, I have decided to give myself permission to take all the time I need to take and not feel pressured to get it out there so I can keep up. I also changed genres and still am not sure I am where I should be:)

  43. Excellent post Jody! I've been thinking about this a lot lately. The writerly blogging world is a great place. The social aspect and the positive encouragement have convinced me that I can do this.

    However, when I read where others are in the process, part of me thinks there won't be room left for me when I'm "finished". Yeah, totally irrational thought, but it pushed me to start querying a novel before I had all my critiques in.

    Luckily, I was smart enough to stop and put that step on hold while I revise some more. The pull of being a part of the "made it!" crowd is so appealing.

    I want to wish everyone good luck in listening to your own inner voice.

  44. I can relate to this in regard to my second novel. I was in such a hurry to publish it that I entered the manuscript into a contest after a quick editing and revision. It actually went farther than I thought it would but the process taught me not to rush myself.

    I'm taking a step back and enjoying the writing and revising process this time and even though I network quite frequently with writers and bloggers online, I use their successes to keep me motivated instead of panicking that I'm not quite there yet.

    If writing ceases to keep me happy then I'm most certainly doing something wrong.

    Thanks for the informative post as always!

  45. Very good post (as usual). Like you, I wrote before Internet; I wrote 10 novels in the 1990s that will never see print--and a good thing, too. I was happy writing them. I did send them off to publishers via snail mail though. I do hope newer writers aren't getting discouraged; it does seem like there's a bit of pressure. Maybe there's a fine line between encouraging writers and pressuring them?

  46. I think pressure can come more from a sense of competition. Lots of hopeful writers, lots of rejections.

    Being a writer new to the arena, I don't feel pressure because of the Internet. I think it's a great resource because a lot of authors and agents are providing help through blogs such as this one. I know I have a lot to learn.

    Yes, I feel the anxiety to be published, but I'm also trying to be patient and make sure I put forward my best work.

    As a side note, I started a blog and Twitter account because I read a post here about the benefits of having an online presence before getting an agent and book contract. But I'm trying to let the audience and following grow naturally rather than being obsessive about it.

  47. I completely agree. Also, the internet/ blogging can become both a distraction and a crutch that keeps you from finishing a truly great project. Great post!

  48. Hi Jody -

    Wonderful post as usual!

    I think it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and jump on the publishing train. In my case, I submitted my novel way too early.

    Now, I'm considering exploring other genres. I'm not giving up on my existing books, but I can no longer afford to put all my energy into them.

    Thanks for verbalizing what I've been sensing in my own heart.

    Susan :)

  49. Alexander said: "As a side note, I started a blog and Twitter account because I read a post here about the benefits of having an online presence before getting an agent and book contract."

    My response: Hi Alexander! I DO believe getting a foundation in social media is very helpful for authors before they get a book contract. I'm so glad I did! But I caution new/young authors from making it too central of a focus and from going at it too strong too quickly. I've seen young authors work SO hard at increasing their blog followings and spend so much time at it, that I can't help but wonder if they're putting as much focus on their writing.

    So, yes. Writers can benefit from learning the ropes of social media long before a book contract, but they definitely need to keep it in it's place! And if social media begins to put too much pressure on a young writer, then it might be time to pull back a little.

  50. I found your blog because someone tweeted about it, and your place is so lovely and warm that I bought The Preacher's Bride. It's worked out well for both of us. You have a new reader and I have a new writer.

    For writers still working on getting that first book into publishable shape, a blog can be a good place to get something finished and published in less than a year. That can feel so great! It feels even better when you discover a community of writers who are also carving out their own paths.

    But I do think writers can afford to step back and take a breath. Traditional publishing takes forever to get a book into the stores, but takes no time at all to yank it out of the stores. Electronic publishing, OTOH, means that your book can stay "in print" as long as you want. Your book has years of earnings potential, not weeks. So the Internet seems more restful and much more transparent than old-style publishing, to me.

    Thanks for this post, and for keeping such a nice place to visit. You have great commenters, as well.

  51. Thanks so much for that article Jody! I would love to begin writing as well, and I am certainly among the many "young" writers out there who really does feel intimidated by everything the internet has to offer. Aside from working a full-time job during the day, and having a range of other chores and things to do out of work hours, I find myself under so much pressure to perform as a writer that I feel terrible if I haven't blogged for a day, and reading what other writers are doing has me feeling more and more like my to-do list is expanding while my time is shrinking.

    Thanks again for this!

  52. Hi Texanne,

    Thank you so much for sharing that you'd boughten my book! I just love knowing how people come across buying it! And it's great to know you discovered my book through my blog! Love that! Now, I hope you'll enjoy it!

    And thanks too for sharing your thoughts about e-publishing. It's been interesting to see how even popular authors are beginning to use e-publishing. I think it's something we're all watching with great interest!

  53. People are impatient. It's the reason why there are huge piles of unreadable garbage posing as ebooks on Smashwords and Kindle.

  54. Please define "too soon". I'm a newbie, but it seems to me when I've finished a piece, it makes no sense to just sit on it. What good does it do sitting on my hard drive, collecting the electronic equivalent of dust? It seems to me I should send it out to some editors or post it for sale online and get to work on the next thing. That's how I'll get better: by writing more stuff, not by navel gazing over the thing I've already finished. Call me a business major (oh wait, I AM a business major. Well, an MBA anyway), but there's no profit (monetary or creative) in doing that.

  55. Michael, I would venture to say that with your MBA you've spent quite a number of years learning the trade and honing your skills. If you were just starting out (say in your 1st year or 2 of school), you wouldn't expect to land a job at a major company.

    And I really think the same thing is true of our writing careers. I believe it takes time and effort to hone our writing skills and learn the "trade" of fiction-writing. It's like any other profession--if we hope to land the "big" publisher, then we need to take the time and effort with our "self-education" and "internships."

    My first novels were the steps necessary to move ahead in my writing skills. They weren't wasted because they helped me grow. But they also weren't of publishable quality. They deserve the closet. As hard as it is to think about writing a book and not pursuing publication with it, the book can still be one tool in preapring for a writing career. Just as all the papers and work you've done for your MBA are preparing you for your future business career.

    Not sure if you were really looking for an answer to your question! But that's my 2 cents! :-)

  56. Jody,

    I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to hear your answer. :) So thanks.

    I totally concur that it takes time to learn and improve. I guess my followup question is what's the harm in sending early stuff out, regardless? Worst that happens is you get rejected. Best...maybe you don't suck as bad as you think you did. We're all really bad judges of our own work, right?

  57. I read lots of blogs by writers and if I had to characterize yours I'd call it the most level-headed :-) Especially in this post...

  58. Hi again, Michael,

    I guess I would say that every writer's journey is completely unique. One writer's first book may be at a different place than another's simply because of they have more fiction-knowledge, talent, or qualified critiquing. I don't believe there's a magical number of books any writer needs to complete before being ready to submit.

    However, let's be realistic. Most first books aren't ready. My first few weren't. I was still learning so much at that point in my writing career and with every book I wrote, I practiced those techniques in what I was writing.

    Honestly I think too many young writers submit the first draft of their first novel and then get discouraged with the publication process. Then disillusioned and disappointed with traditional publication, they go the self-pub route (or e-pub). When really they just needed to keep writing and working on the craft.

    As long as you keep your expectations realistic and you know can weather potential disappointment without getting overly discouraged, then maybe it won't hurt you to submit! But why rush it? Why not let that first book sit while you write the second. Then go back with objective eyes and see if you think it's ready then?

    Wishing you all the best! :-)


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