Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Work in Progress

It's like magic around here lately. As soon as I sit down to write a post, some crisis crops up. I've had this particular window open on my computer about 10 times and this is as far as I get. But no more. I'm determined to post. By the way, the picture of Capt. Jack has nothing to do with the post, but I felt I'd been limiting myself with Daniel Craig and neglecting my Johnny Depp obsession. Besides, I thought this was a cool picture.

But onto the meat and taters. One thing I've noticed in my writing is how much it matures with each new book I write. My style and voice continue to develop. Its easier to read what I've written without cringing. It shouldn't be surprising, for the most part, we get better at anything with practice. But I think we as writers have difficult expectations of ourselves. We want to be at our zenith with every book. There is nothing wrong with that, the quest to be at our best is a natural one. On the flip, I think it also sets us up for struggle and disappointment.

We as writers are works in progress. As we continue to write, we learn to be more comfortable with our talents. Once we are, we can move onto a new skill or focus. We need to remember that each manuscript we work on is another step in our progress.

Writers tend to treat their current WIP as our children. We put our hearts and souls into them, terrified when we send them out into the cold, cruel world of publishing. Every rejection is a crushing blow smacking to the core of our egos. Talk about pressure. But manuscripts aren't children. They are products of our hard work. Yes, it hurts when they get rejected, but the next book will be better.

I'm working on a new book while my other one is in submission hell somewhere. Oddly enough, I don't think about the other book itself anymore. My focus is on what I'm writing now. I'm allowing myself to branch out into other directions with this story and I can see it in the writing. It makes me happy. And that's what writing should do. If I dwell on the rejections I'm receiving on the other book, it would be very easy to never come back to the book I'm working on. But I recognize that I'm still progressing. I am willing to accept the book out in submissions may not find a home. Having an agent is no guarantee for a sale. I'm going to have to be okay with that. Hence, a new book. This picture also has nothing to do with the post, but I liked it and I thought Orlando looked a bit dashing.

As I was saying, its easy to feel like your writing life has ended when a book is rejected. But having a new project is the best cure. You are a work in progress and each book you write continues your progression. Enjoy the process and be proud of the skills you develop no matter what.

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