I remember the first manuscript I hacked out on a typewriter. (Showing my age, aren’t I?) It was bad, and I mean, bad. That was back in the 90s. Thank goodness I lost that manuscript in one of my moves. Yes, it was THAT BAD. Then I wrote a story I just loved. Wrote it, rewrote it, polished it until it was “ready.” Submitted it to a publisher. Um, it wasn’t ready. It now sits happily UNDER my desk. That was early in 2000.
Between then and now, there have been many a manuscript on my computer in various stages. Some completed, some not. Some I really love, some, not so much anymore. But there is a story on my system that I love. It’s one that comes straight from my heart. It is ready for submission. Matter-of-fact, it’s been submitted to many places. Oh, I’ve gotten the personal, nice rejections, but not a contract. Again, let me reiterate, I LOVE this story. My writing buddies love this story. But for some reason, editors don’t. Or it’s not right for them. Or it’s too similar to something they’ve already contracted. Or . . .
Know what I’m talking about? There comes a time in every writer’s career when they have a story that means so much to them, is so personal to them, that it’s almost obsessive in the way we write. And when it’s done and edited and ready to go out, we just KNOW it’s going to be snapped right up. But it doesn’t. We get rejection letters. We get depressed. We pull the story out again and revise. We resubmitted until our story has seen every editor’s desk in the business. We’ve revised until we can’t revise anymore. And still it’s uncontracted. We can spend months, years even, on this one story to no avail. No contract. No interest.
Each writer will come to this crossroads sometime in their career. Each writer will have to cross the hurdle, much like overcoming writer’s block. Each writer will have to make that painful decision to put the story aside and move on. Yep, you heard me—put the story of our heart aside and move on to something else.
Ouch, that hurts. For me, it was several months of pouting. Kicking the couch. (Would never kick my dog) Pouting again. Stomping around the house until the hubby and kids were cowering in closets. Depressed. Angry. Depressed again. Pouting. Watching others getting their stories of their hearts published. Pouting. Depressed again.
And then I grew as a writer.
I saved the story of my heart onto a disk. (Ok, two different ones—I’m obsessive, what can I say?) Then I did the hardest thing, I deleted it off my desktop. My heart pounded, I felt nauseous. But I knew I had to. And then I did the unthinkable—I started a new story. I’d learned there’s a time to put away a story and move on to something else. I’d grown. I’d become a “professional” in my career thinking because I would write something else, something that might have a chance of being published. One story does not a writer make.
I still miss that story of my heart sometimes. Every six or seven months, I pull out the disk and read through it. I don’t save it to my computer though. I read it, then put it away. I’ve moved on to something else, and doing so got me published.
One story does not a writer make.
One day . . . one day it’ll be that story’s time. It’ll be its turn. And I’ll take it out, probably revise it for the millionth time, and send it out again. Who knows? It might be snapped up in a minute.
But until that time, I’ll keep pressing forward. Keep writing what I can. Keep giving each current story all my attention. I’ll keep doing so because I want to be an author, because I DO have more than one story in my heart.
One story does not a writer make.