The awesome co-hosts for the January 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!
My good news for the month is that the story I sold to Tales to Terrify is finally available in the latest episode (Episode 518, for people who are reading this uhm… later than this week.)
I’m probably biased, but I really do think you should go listen to it right now. It’s okay. I’ll wait. Let me know what you think.
January 5 question – What’s the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?
The first full-length novel-weight, full-page count novel I ever wrote was a mess. Writing it–writing anything that long–was an accomplishment… but it was a mess. I was a beginning writer, and worse than that, I was a beginning discovery writer… so, there was a lot of fixing that needed to be done.
And no. I didn’t have the faintest idea of how to fix it.
That didn’t stop me from trying, though. By golly, I got going and then I kept going. For a long, long time. Years, to be precise. I kept revising it for years.
Don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot, and eventually, I managed to revise it to the point that I was able to submit it and get requests…
But if I were working on that book now, I would have set it aside, and written the next one.
Yup. Write another book, before you start revising this book.
That’s appropriately terrifying.
It seems so obvious, now. Write something new. Get the old thing truly out of your system. Come back to it with fresh eyes.
I think I also get a lot of momentum from knowing that the next thing is waiting for me. It would have given me a better idea of when it was time to stop revising. And it would have given me more confidence in my own abilities. (Of course, there’s another book after this one.)
My other big regret–and this might actually be the thing that led into the first one–is that I let myself get isolated from other writers. There was no one around to compare notes with, and I didn’t ask for help until I was deeply, deeply embedded in the project.
I really don’t know what would have happened, if I had done those two things. Maybe there’s always one truly horrific revision at the beginning. Maybe it would have sped up my career by years. I don’t know. Maybe would never have switched to writing Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and my entire career would be on a completely different track headed in a different direction.
Did I get over it? I don’t know… but I learned from it. I am doing things differently, now.