Writer grabbing his head in front of a computer

One Big Regret About My Writing Career to Overcome

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s IWSG blog day—where authors lay bare some of their own writing shortcomings and stumbling blocks and offer lessons learned. (See here for a previous IWSG blog share post)

This month’s subject?

What’s the one thing about your writing career you regret the most?

That one’s easy for me…although it still hurts.

The Rise of My Writing-A Finished Manuscript!

A thick writing manuscript topped with a pen

A couple of years ago, as a brand-new, fledgling writer, I came home from a writer’s conference super excited about finishing my story. I finished the entire manuscript and then poured over it for months with a fine-toothed comb, editing, looking for loose ends to tie up, killing off all the “thats.” I had scene cards splayed across the entire floor for weeks.

Finally, I got up the nerve to enter Pitch Wars, and came very close to getting a mentor. Undeterred, I set about querying, using what I had learned at a one-day query workshop.

And it worked!

I got several full manuscript requests from my A list agents! I was in heaven.

The Fall

Unfortunately, what I didn’t understand at the time, was the value of a real editor. In particular, a developmental editor. Heck, I didn’t even know what that term meant.

But the agents reading my manuscript did.

The rejections flowed in. Most of them loved my voice, the POV, the story idea. I even made one of them cry through a particularly devastating scene.

They also pointed out problems with the flow of the story, the completion of the character arcs, and a couple of plot holes that I was too close to see. There were enough problems for them to universally turn down the manuscript. I had burned those bridges.

And what really hurt was that I had come so close.

Where to Go From Here

The manuscript still sits on a shelf. I’ll pull it down again, someday, and plough through it, before sending it off to a bona fide editor. In the meantime, my current WIPs are going through extensive edits, including a developmental editor. I often hear complaints from authors about how expensive editors are.

Yes, editors can be costly.

But what I lost with those agents cost me a whole lot more.

See below for our awesome co-hosts for this month’s blog post. I encourage you to visit their site for more great writerly support:

Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

Happy Editing!

8 Comments

  1. Happy New Year, Miffie!

    Several full manuscript requests from A list agents? Wow! Congratulations on that specific achievement. Even though that manuscript is sitting on the shelf, you have to acknowledge how far you’ve come. You’ve already had great success on your writing journey and it can only get better…
    Good luck with your writing goals!

    1. Hi Michelle! First, thanks for stopping by and leaving your positive encouragement. I think much of any success we have as authors comes from those we surround ourselves with and the support we all share with each other. I have learned so much about writing from those connections, like with the IWSG. It’s an awesome community rich with knowledge. Happy New Year to you and best wishes with all your writing this year.

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