There comes a time when we have to have the courage to say that's enough tweaking and fiddling, that's enough listening to our friends, neighbours and anyone willing to share an opinion on how a piece should be written. We have to stand by our work, with all its flaws, and push it out into the big wide world—and keep pushing it out there until you declare it dead, or someone falls in love with it and gives it a whole new life of its own.
Easier said than done, of course. But it does become easier if you've whipped the manuscript into shape, done the rounds with your critique partners, and given it some muscle so it's strong enough to stand on its own. After that, it helps to remember the tips below:
1. Not everyone will like your manuscript. This is an immutable fact and is no reflection on your ability as a writer. Neither does it mean your manuscript is terrible and therefore needs more tweaks. The trick is to find the people who will like your manuscript.
2. No manuscript will ever be perfect. While it's important to strive for perfection, if all you're doing is small tweaks, then that's enough. It’s time to stand behind your work and send it off.
3. Everyone will have an opinion about how to improve your work. Don't blindly follow everything everyone says, but don't close your ears to it either. Learn to measure the advice you're given. If the suggestions improve the story you're trying to tell, then go ahead and make the changes. Listen to what your story needs because you're the only one who can write it.
4. Believe in yourself. You have something important to say that's worth reading. People do want to read your work. You just have to find the right audience.
5. Remember the passion you had when you first began the story. That passion may have been trampled during the making of the story, after all the rewrites, after the multiple rejections, or after a poor review. Doubt has a way of killing passion. Don't let those doubts sway your love of writing.
6. Trust your voice. Writing what you think others will want to read is the fastest way to drain the magic and originality from a story. Yes, be aware of the market, but first and foremost, write the stories calling out from deep inside you. They are the stories which will shine.
In the fast-changing risk-averse publishing world, if you can't be your story's champion, then no one else will. Against the odds, how do you find the courage and conviction to stand behind your writing?
Lynda R Young