When is “Good” Good Enough?

I have a problem that I suspect many first and even established writers face.  Is my work actually good enough to get a publisher interested?  I know it was fear that kept me writing (and rewriting) the infamous chapter 1 of my book.  I wanted a beginning so compelling that whoever read it would have no choice but to go on with the rest of the story.

I have no doubt that there are several vanity publishers that would be happy to take my money and print my book.  Somehow (to me, at least) that’s not an indication of whether it’s good or not.  Only a “real” publisher agreeing to take the project on will do.

Naturally, I want to send my best work out, but when do I say “Enough”?  When do I put down my editor’s hat?

It’s a tough decision. 

I mean, what if my best falls well short of the mark?   Will I be poisoning the well with that publisher?  Will they send me back my work thinking that I’m now and always will be a hack?  Will they say, “thanks, but no thanks… don’t quite your day job”?

Isn’t fear an amazing thing?

I have spoken to and heard of many people who simply won’t send out their writing.  They are too afraid of rejection.  They are too afraid to learn whether their work is up to par.

I know where you’re coming from.

Too many times, I’ve been motoring along, got a great flow going.  I feel great about my writing.  Top of the world.

Then, invariably, I have a bad chapter.  It’s not coming together for one reason or another.  Suddenly, I’m a hack (in my own mind anyways) who is a fool for even trying.

It happens.  Get over it (and I have).

I have to keep reminding myself (some days) that the only way to get better is to write more.  And the only way to know for certain if I’m good enough is to send it out.

If my first effort isn’t good enough, then should I pick up my toys and go home?

No, I don’t think so.

I’ll simply regroup.  Boost up those hurt feelings and figure out where I fell short.  The next work will be amazing.  Oh yeah, and I’ll keep sending out the first book.  I know that someone will like it.

Because as Stuart Smalley (SNL if you don’t know the reference) says:

    • “I deserve good things
    • I am entitled to my share of happiness
    • I refuse to beat myself up
    • I am fun to be with
    • Because I’m good enough
    • I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me.” 

 With that in mind (a little tongue in cheek maybe), I will be putting down my editing pen (and hat) in less than 10-days.  The book will be packaged and sent out.

Will I send it with a touch of fear?

You bet!

But I’m still going to send it.


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