The Writing Life – Throwing up Obstacles

One of my unfortunate work habits is that when I’m focused on something, everything else seems to take a back seat.  Case in point is the recent launch of my new podcast.  When I was writing, recording and mixing the podcast, my novel writing (and editing) came to a screeching halt.

I suppose I could be forgiven that minor sin considering I had never done a podcast before.  Everything was (and still is) new.  That being said, if I were to prioritize everything a little more evenly, I could probably get more done.

It got me thinking about how many self-imposed obstacles have slowed my writing and eventual publication.  Self-imposed because I am obviously an overachiever; simply overcoming the odds to getting published isn’t quite enough for me.  I’ve got to add in a few more problems simply to make it interesting.

Tell me if any of these sound familiar:

  1. I need to keep editing the story so the publisher cannot help but accept it.  Every time I come close to submitting it, I tell myself that more editing is needed and pull back.
  2. The first publisher rejected it.  More editing must be required.  (similar to number one, but with the added bonus of having a rejection to support it)
  3. I don’t know how to write a (pick one:  query letter, synopsis, letter of introduction, etc.).  I must take my time to craft a perfect *** so that I stand a chance to get published (and thus you have a reason to procrastinate).
  4. I don’t quite understand what the submission guidelines mean.  I must take my time to follow every requirement to the letter (again, a reason to procrastinate).
  5. My submission was just rejected.  I think I’ll sit on it for a few days to decide what to do next.
  6. The (submitted to) publisher has had my manuscript for 14 months and won’t return my calls/emails/letters asking for a status update.  I should continue to wait for their reply rather than move on.
  7. Publisher xyz rejected my last five stories so I shouldn’t bother them anymore.
  8. Nobody reads the kind of stuff I write so there’s no point in submitting it.

I’m sure I could come up with others, but you get the general idea.  I have done many of the above things, convincing myself that I was trying to give my work the best chance at publication.  Really, all I managed to do is stall things out.  And as an added bonus, it cut down on the amount of new writing I was doing.  You’d think I didn’t want publication, wouldn’t you?

At the end of the day, your best chance at getting your work published is to:

  • keep your work in circulation looking for a home;
  • keep writing so your work continues to improve;
  • make contacts so you are no longer part of the slush pile; and
  • give yourself and your writing the chance it deserves.

As I’ve already said, although it bares repeating, it is difficult enough to get professionally published.  Do not be part of the problem.

Personal Update

For any of you who checked in on Wednesday expecting to see my regular blog, you would have noticed my new podcast instead.  Hopefully you took a moment to give it a listen.  If you did, please fire me an email or leave a comment.  I’d love to know what your thought (good or bad).

I’m pulling a manuscript back from a publisher who hasn’t responded in over 7 months since I sent it in.  I have another publisher in mind to send it to.  Hopefully the publisher will get back to me.  If not, I’ll be resubmitting it.

I’m back on the editing track on “Goddess”.  I managed about 6,000 more words of editing over the weekend.


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