Monday, October 29, 2018

Tip Time

This month's tip is a great one: TAKE A BREAK!!!!  Partially inspired by my own hectic life and the need to treat yo'self, this advice is also the result of seeing repeat queries and watching my own clients' occasional stubbornness about holding on to a manuscript for longer than they should.

Holding on to a particular manuscript and making it your primary (or sole) active project, even when it's been through countless rounds of revisions and sent out to everyone twice over, kind of reminds of when I'm running late and waiting for my subway.  I see other trains go by that will take me kind of near my destination, but since I'm already waiting, I stay where I am for the train that I want until eventually I'm waiting for that particular train solely because I've been waiting for so long at that point that getting on anything else will mean defeat.

In a similar vein, when you aren't willing to shelve one manuscript to try something else, you run the risk of driving yourself crazy and shutting yourself off from other possible opportunities that might come if you shrug off the effort you've put into Manuscript A to give Manuscripts B and C a shot.  I have clients who have a hard time trashing their first babies and I've also seen authors cycling pitches for the same story through my inbox for extended periods of time.

Part of moving from a writer who does it for the love of the craft to an author who positions himself/herself to be a commercial success in the marketplace is not being precious about particular stories, and knowing when to take a break and step away from something.  This is not to say you have to be ready to delete something if you don't get a book deal for it right away--I had one manuscript on sub for THREE YEARS before it sold to St. Martin's--but holding on to something for the right reasons is very different from just refusing to let go.

So if you have a project that has been driving you up the wall and you can't figure out the ending or how to make the characters more relatable, do yourself a favor and put it aside to try something new!