Hello everyone! I have a very special guest here today to talk to us about something we all struggle with as writers. Please welcome C Hope Clark, author of two mystery series & editor for FundsforWriters!
I get these whims to literally cook up something remarkably different. Like a pot roast that adds cola, or a Christmas cookie with real lavender flowers in the icing. I even tried spaghetti cooked in a Bundt pan, with the sauce afterwards filling the hole and drizzled all over the top. It looked weird and tasted okay, but the jokes about it continued from my sister for years.
Truth is, I’m a darn good cook now. My sister hasn’t tasted much of my cooking in a decade or two, but my family and neighbors have come to appreciate what my kitchen produces, especially since much of it comes fresh from a garden, the chicken coop, and years of trial and error.
One thing I have learned, however, is that I don’t want to try out a new recipe for a special event (or test it on my sister). I could be remembered for the potential fiasco instead of my prowess.
The same goes for releasing your writing to the cold, cruel world. In our excitement to become published and start that portfolio of our accomplishments, we forget what can happen if the release crashes and burns. I baked that spaghetti dish probably thirty years ago, but my sister reminded me of it just last week. I also self-published a plain, basic little book in 2001 that I wish I never had. In spite of my attempts to forget those mistakes, they continue to pop up from time to time.
All too often we are remembered for our mistakes instead of our accomplishments. It’s a nasty reality, but oh so true.
A friend in one of my writing groups just sent her last chapter through the online group for critique. It took her months to submit, receive feedback, and edit. I watched her work just blossom over that time period as she found her footing and her voice. After the last chapter, I asked her if she was ready to send it through the group again.
The disappointment rang clear. She’d hoped to start contacting agents. I suggested she think twice about that choice. In sending the book back through for critique again, not only would the other writers look at it with a harsher eye in seeking more advanced ways to improve the work, but she would in the process grow phenomenally in her talent. Instead of analyzing basic storytelling, she and others could now study more intricacies of dialogue, voice, flow and syntax.
She was so primed to be published, and my response was this:
Don’t be anxious to be rejected.
She told me that sentence stopped her in her tracks. In querying too soon, she was indeed rushing into rejection. She was running into making a bad first impression on people she greatly needed to impress. She was attempting a new recipe in front of very important people, hoping they would like it . . . instead of practicing and rewriting long enough to know the recipe is a good one before laying it on the table.
Hope Clark has written six novels in two series, with her latest being Echoes of Edisto, released August 2016, the third in the Edisto Island Mysteries. Mystery continues to excite her as both reader and writer, and she hopes to continue as both for years to come. Hope is also founder of FundsforWriters, chosen by Writer’s Digest Magazine for its 101 Best Websites for Writers.