Is it a word? No idea, but it plagues me every day. For those of you using submission trackers, like Duotrope or the Grinder, it can become a habit that bogs down your progress. You look up recent responses, new markets, editor interviews to find a crack in the preferences of big publications, only to find that the wheels are going to turn as fast or as slow as they want to. They’re great services, don’t get me wrong, but for impatient, submission crazy folks like me they can get you stuck waiting in limbo for something you have no control of. In the meantime, just keep plowing forward without regard to time.
My goal this month is to keep at least ten pieces in the queue waiting for responses. Some folks have the issue of not submitting at all. They twitch over each sentence and punctuation mark (I could use some of the twitch myself) and never really get anything out there. But in the grand scheme of things, if you’re going for the big pubs, you need to put out the best possible work you can (I’m speaking to myself here).
In his book, On Writing, Stephen King mentions getting some distance from that first draft. I hated that piece of advice. If I don’t see it right off the bat it’s never going to be there. It’s taken me about two years to find the value in distancing myself from a piece. One week, in my experience, just isn’t long enough. Finish up that draft then store it away for at least a month. Sometimes the first draft comes out really clean (a rarity in my own work) and there is only a bit of polishing and editing to do. Most times there is a huge amount of work to do. I’ve found that distancing myself from the first draft really helps with taking off the writer’s hat and replacing it with the editor’s hat.
Speaking of Stephen King, I have a whole shelf full of his stuff and will be delving back into those early stories and novels that made their mark on the annals of horror history. If King isn’t your bag, by all means ignore the reviews I’ll be posting in the weeks to come. Also came by a whole lot of early Robert E. Howard stuff on eBay that I’ll be posting about. I broke a lot of windows and gardening tools trying to be Conan as a kid and would love to rehash his epic adventures. I’m aiming for a novel a week, but don’t quote me…never quote me.
Keep carving out the sand and stay away from that refresh button.