It’s not a fun thing to admit:
I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. Novel writing, I mean. (See there? I can’t even form a complete sentence.)
No, no. I’m not looking for consolation. I’m simply being transparent about what’s what.
Given that time is lapping me like an Olympian, something must be done now if I’m ever going to achieve my dream.
Somethings I’ve tried, include, but are not limited to:
- Attending writing-focused workshops, retreats and conferences
- Completing course with the Institute of Children’s Literature and the UCLA Writing Extension
- Reading books on writing (if you’d like recommendations, please ask)
- Paying for critiques from editors and authors
- Studying novels written by award-winning authors in my genre
- Participating in a critique group
- Seeking one-on-one advice from a trusted fellow writer
- Eating a library’s weight in cookies
To be crystal, I am not saying I’ve tried all of these somethings and they were a waste. Not. At. All. I value these experiences and will return to them again going forward (particularly the last one).
But now, this is the time to try a shiny, new something.
I made of list of everything from reading a new self-help book to applying to grad school and nothing seemed quite right–either not personalized or too pricey or impractical given my day job.
That’s when a friend suggested I get some professional help.
Now, that’s a true friend!
My friend suggested I contact an editorial service–a business that provides copy edits, developmental editing and coaching.
Eureka! (Time for a celebratory cookie!)
I investigated the particular service she recommended and loved what I learned. So much so that I spoke with the owner, sent in a writing sample, picked my editor, signed on the dotted line, attached my manuscript and mailed my check this week. In about three weeks, I will receive my detailed editorial letter.
Be aware, my little apricot tarts, quality editorial services are not cheap. Nor should they be. But when I compare the cost of a full-manuscript edit to a fly-away weekend workshop, much less graduate level courses, the price is much more manageable. Plus, I will be learning transferable skills I can apply to past and future manuscripts. I also anticipate having this level of personalized help will speed along the process a bit rather than meandering without aim through a writers’ wilderness (aka per usual).
Is there some wink-wink magic hidden door wink-wink connected to such services? In other words, if you use an editorial service, will your work somehow become cover to cover catnip to publishers because the service itself will help you on your way? Mmm. No. It’s still about you and your writing. But because your writing will be stronger, there’s hope your chances for publication are stronger too.
Next time, I’ll tell you what it was like to get the letter and a bit about what I learned and how I’ll use the editor’s input to shape my work in progress.
For now, I feel excited, empowered and energized. And that’s mighty fine by me.
If you think you could use some professional help, let’s connect on my contact page. I’ll be glad to share more with you.
It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed. ~ Napoleon Hill
It’s great advice to get help from professional editors, Vicky, and I’m not just saying that because I myself am one of those beasts, a story coach who provides critiques and edits to writers. As the author of many traditionally published children’s books, I’ve been lucky to have my work edited by some wonderful in-house editors at many well-respected publishing companies. It has ALWAYS improved after this type of careful and close assessment.
Best, Susan [www.susanhughes.ca]
Hello Susan, thank you for your affirming comments! Congratulations on your publishing successes too. I’m an editor in my day job (in the marketing department for a hospital/health system), so editors have a special place in my heart. My warmest, summery wishes to you for continued sales!
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