Writing is a funny way to spend your time.
It is one profession where you spend most of your time alone in a room with the clattering of keys and, if you are fortunate, the story battling through your brain finds its way onto the page. It is only after hours (or days, weeks … years?) of writing alone does the final product present itself as a first draft and a very important CTRL S.
But this is the most crucial time for me.
For years, I would let my first draft manuscripts sit. They would sit for a month, then a season, and then a year. By the time I felt like returning to one, I had started on another story.
Some of the best advice I ever heard was to edit your work and then send it out. It is never a complete work until it is sent out. You will be rejected. Art is never universally loved.
When I was younger, I felt like Marty McFly in Back to the Future. He said, “What if they say I’m no good. What if they say, ‘Get out of here kid. You’ve got no future. I don’t think I could take that kind of rejection.”
Let me tell you something I learned from working at a daily newspaper: Write your story like you have a deadline in ten minutes. Write it now. Write hard and true.
You know what is worse than rejection? Worse than being told you have no business chasing that dream of writing a book you love?
Wondering about the file you left on your hard drive, untouched and unloved. Trust me, I know. Regret’s a dangerous thing, perhaps the most dangerous thing. Those of you who have tasted the bitter singe of regret know I speak the truth.
Go finish your story. Tell the world about it. Don’t hoard it for yourself. Your story deserves better than that.
And so do you.