Thursday, June 10, 2010

Are You a Mother Hen?

Today I went for a mile walk around my neighborhood with my son and dog, Taz. We were doing well until Taz decided he could not walk anymore and started chewing at his leash. At first I did what any dog owner would do . . . I chocked up the leash and started encouraging Taz to keep walking. At about the half way point, Taz sat down and refused to take another step. Now, I could have done what most dog trainers tell you to do . . . pull the dog along and make him walk. But I didn’t. I went right into mother hen mode. I picked up my dog and began to carry him the remaining half mile to our house. After I got home, I sat down at my computer and posted about our walk on Facebook. Then I turned to my WIPs. The ones I have been working on for a little over a year now. Then it hit me. I am treating my WIPs like my dog! Okay, so you are wondering how in the world are my WIPs like my dog. Well, they both give me comfort, but that’s not what I’m talking about. No, what I am talking about is how once my WIPs get too tired, unsure of themselves, or lose their way, I pick them up and carry them around in my mind. I make up excuses as to why they are not ready to be sent out. Just like the excuse, I gave on Facebook about my dog needing to lay off the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. What I realized today is I am afraid to let my WIPs go. I am afraid their not ready for an editor, publisher, or agent’s eyes to look them over. Does it mean my WIPs are not ready to be sent out? Maybe, but most likely not. In truth, many writers do this. They work on a manuscript trying to perfect it. Trying to make it the best manuscript ever written, but the fact is . . . you will never see that day! Why? Because all manuscripts will be a WIP until they are published. This means they will go through many more revisions, edits, and rewrites before a publisher will put them on the printing press. It means once you’ve had your manuscript critiqued, proofread, revised, critiqued again, revised some more . . . you need to find the right time to send it out into the world. To let your baby fly with its own wings. You may get some rejections and some may even be helpful to help you prefect your WIP a bit more. But if you do not set your manuscript down and let it walk on its own feet, it will never be strong enough to walk the whole mile to publication. So stop being a mother hen. Let your manuscripts leave your arms and take flight! Or in the case of my dog, Taz . . . walk.

7 comments:

  1. LOL. I have to admit to carrying around some of my WIPs, but truly, most of the stories that I'm carting around with me are languishing because I haven't gone back to them to finish writing the darned thing!

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  2. I'm the same way. One of my 'projects'--a very loosely YA novel based on my experiences growing up with a bipolar father--has been painful. I know I have to dig deeper and that's tough. While other 'projects' just get put to the side as I concentrate more on revising yet another 'project'.

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  3. Terrific advice. Hope you got stronger arm muscles for carrying your dog.

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  4. I'm planning on running through two of my picture book WIPs and then getting them sent out by the end of this month. I think they are about ready and I need to let them go. But my YA WIPs still need some work and many more hours of writing. Time to buckle down and get working.

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  5. Donna, I've been building arm muscles just from carry Sabrina around. She's almost 15 pounds now. :)

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  6. Love the comparison! I think most writers can relate!

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