By Rebecca Cuadra George
I Thought I Was Ready
At 17, I finished writing my first novel and believed it was ready for publication. I wrote short stories on Saturday mornings for 10 years, read a library of writing books, conducted hours of research on agents and publishers, and spent weekend evenings studying Nitty Gritty Grammar for fun. Unfortunately, the same strength that fueled my ambition also fueled my naiveté. My passion and drive had strong roots, but the fruits of my writing needed to ripen.
The Need for Growth and Perspective
Many events—some expected, some not—transpired in the following 11 years. I wrote my first women’s fiction manuscript, Amber Vines, while going through the milestones of adulthood. I went to college, joined the corporate world, got married, relocated four times, and lived. But sometimes life meant pain and loss. During those times, writing became difficult, rejection chipped away at my self-esteem, and frequent revision cycles drained me. Years passed, but I refused to give up. Instead, I waited.
Nathan Bransford recently wrote a post on authors and depression. In it, he says, “Writing is not therapy. Therapy is therapy.” I agree wholeheartedly, and I would like to add another important lesson:
Therapy improves writing.
This year, I completed therapy, and it freed my writing through incredible growth and perspective. When I resumed my manuscript revisions, what I saw amazed me. There were so many nuances and opportunities for improvement I had missed while I was shortsighted. Completing therapy gave me fresh eyes, fresh insight into my characters and story, fresh hope, and fresh inspiration to make my manuscript blossom.
I knew I would be ready soon.
How Do You Know When You're Ready?
Looking back, I’m thankful I didn’t publish my first book at 17, and I’m glad I didn’t publish the first draft of my women’s fiction manuscript. I had to grow, live, and heal to prepare my book—and myself—for the next step in the journey.
Now I challenge you to reflect on your own writing and life, and see where you are in your journey.
· Do you feel frustrated, stuck, or discouraged?
· What could you do to grow and gain perspective?
Sometimes the writing journey includes seasons of waiting, growing, and learning before we’re ready to continue, and that’s okay. But don’t let the journey’s challenges dry the roots of your inspiration and dreams. If you need time away from your manuscript to replenish and grow, the best thing you can do is take it.
All writers are ready for publication at different ages and stages of their writing careers. I believe we’re ready for publication when we have a sense of peace about our work…the peace that comes when we’ve matured our souls and ripened our work through beta readers, critiques, revision, and study of the craft.
No matter what unexpected turns life brings, we're on this road together, and together we’ll reach our dreams.
Are you ready?
Rebecca enjoys all forms of writing, from novels to eLearning scripts to children’s books to songs, but women’s fiction is where her heart lives. She resides with her beloved husband in
, where she dreams up
metaphors, plays the Celtic harp, and keeps an eye open for quaint wooden
swings. Santa Clara,
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