A year ago, I wrote a synopsis for a novel and I remember just how overcome with pride I was on finishing it. It was the distilled essence of awesome, kissed by angels and blessed by the almighty. So who stole that little monument to literary excellence and replaced it with a dribble of puke?
I think it just underlines how, as a writer, I’m still improving. What a relief I’ve never published anything out of hubris, as the passage of time would have revealed it for what it truly was. Trash.
Our terms of reference as writers stop at the here and now. We can look at what we did a year or more ago and say ‘thank god I don’t write that kind of tripe anymore’, but will we say the same thing of our current writing, a year hence? I’ve no answers, for I’m still evolving, and perhaps always will be. Somewhere out there is a magical bar labelled ‘good enough’ and I’m just not sure how close I am to it. – I’ve betas aplenty who think I hurdled it long since, but I’m far more cautious.
Oh, I’ll send a couple of speculative sends to agents in the coming months, but I’ll just keep on writing. I’ve six novels written in the last couple of years that are somewhere in the ballpark, and around a dozen in the preceding years that would have readers clawing at their eyes.
So, please, take a moment if you’re considering self-publishing. Have a few people scan it who are prepared to tell you what you need to hear rather than just what you want to hear. – There’s little more restricting than people claiming you’re good when you are something far less. Writing well, like anything, comes with practice, and I very much doubt the first novel or two you create will be fit for public consumption.
I’ll leave this with an open invite for anyone who would like me to read the first few pages of their recently finished novel. – I swear I’ll be honest, but that’s not something every writer is ready for just yet. When you are, you’ll have taken a massive step along the literary road we all must walk if we wish for success.