This post is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG) blog hop. That’s a wonderful hop where writers write about their insecurities and support each other by visiting others on the list. Scroll to the bottom of this post for the link to join the hop.
Each month there’s an optional question as part of the IWSG hop. This month's question is:
What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?
My answer could be summed up in a single sentence.
Don’t let little things stress you out
Like when to use the word ‘backwards’ and when to use ‘backward’
(and its equally confusing antonym - forwards/forward)
Because doing so will get you nowhere
Janet Reid calls it “the hamster wheel”
It happens when hopeful writers work countless hours to create a publishable manuscript. Then countless more to scour out a good fit for it. And then countless MORE to create a knock-out query that will entice the agent or editor to look at your manuscript.
We writers starts stressing over little details that are NOT deal-breakers.
“What if I use the word ‘alien’ but I’m talking about foreigners not extraterrestrials?”
(Well, that’s only a problem if the term would be confusing to the reader.)
“What if I use the spelling ‘lit’ instead of ‘lighted’?”
“Is it ‘lay’ or ‘lie’?”
(It matters, but the editor is going to tell you the right word if your story is awesome)
“lightening or lightning?”
(Depends on what you’re talking about. But see above)
“Backwards or backward?”
(Actually, it depends on where you live in the world. But see above)
(Hey, I'm just trying to help!)
"I know, but it's hard not to stress over these things."
This, writers, is a prime example of how we are running in our hamster wheels. We’re letting little things like spelling get in our way of hitting the send button. Instead we should be thinking this way:
"What if the editor is looking for a manuscript EXACTLY like what I’ve written?"
(Hey, it could happen. Isn't that why you send it out, just in case?)
"What if I don’t send it, and said editor is left without my perfect-fit manuscript, having to settle with OK-fit manuscripts because I’m stressing over one word?"
(Exactly, you'd be doing that editor a disservice.)
"What if I’m depriving that editor from ever knowing about this manuscript that they* will absolutely love and cherish, and knock over the postman (who is delivering only OK-fit manuscripts) taking it to acquisitions?"
(OK, that might be a little carried away. But where are you going with this?)
"And What if I’m depriving readers at large from ever reading my work because I’m worried about the spelling of ONE WORD?"
(Now you're talking - er - thinking. Hey who are you anyway?"
"Who me? Oh, just an invisible blogging friend from a certain #AtoZChallenge. 😉"
(Seriously? Welcome back!)
Now, fellow writers, let’s not be that person who deprives the world of our work just because of ONE WORD.
So quit stressing over it
and send it!
*why yes, yes I did use the epicene they in this post. Thanks for asking!
OK, Who Told? (Thank you!)
I just want to give a big thank you to whoever mentioned* my Facebook Group “The POV of Picture Books”. I don’t usually advertise outside the group, but it seems to be growing organically through word-of-mouth. It’s amazing!
I started the group because several picture book writers wanted to share insights specifically regarding POV. You are welcome to join if you: a) write picture books, and b) answer the questions.
*And if it was me who mentioned it, thank you whoever read my comments and joined!
Link to #IWSG
Are you insecure in your writing journey? Do some things scare you? Do you need support from fellow writers? If you said yes to any of these questions, check out #IWSG by clicking the button below:
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)