I’m having a frustration moment.
I’m trying to break into the freelance editor market, and I’m finding it harder than I anticipated. I mean, I knew it would be difficult to coax new writers into giving me money for editing their manuscript. But… it feels like everyone just wants free advice.
I get it. I’ve been in that position where I wanted advice, but I didn’t want to fork over half my paycheck to get it. I’ve been there.
I also remember thinking that I didn’t need “professional” advice because I knew what I was doing. I was a good writer, and so anything that I wrote would automatically be gold.
And, as anyone who’s been paying attention knows, that didn’t go as I’d planned. (Quick notes – It went horribly.)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ll see posts from aspiring writers who are fed up and mad and frustrated with not getting an agent. (I’ve been there, too.) They’re mad, and they’re about to throw in the towel and leave this writing thing behind.
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen successful writers say that their first novel was crap. Often, that first novel never saw the light of day.
I find this concept interesting. I’ve quoted O’Connor before for saying that everyone knows how to write a novel until they actually sit down to write one. She was beyond right. It sounds so easy, right? Some drama, some action, throw in some narration and some dialog, and presto – it’s a novel. Well, it’s not that simple.
Writing a novel is a commitment. It’s not a one-and-done ordeal. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with that novel, or you should. I think sometimes these new writers write a novel and then want the instant success. They want the overnight ramification and justification for all that hard work. (I did.)
There’s also this crazy idea of “revising.” Sometimes, if your novel isn’t working, you need to revise. Sometimes it’s more than switching up some words or clarifying – it can sometimes mean eliminating entire chapters, adding entire chapters, or deleting a whole character. Sometimes, you need to give the novel a face-lift. Sometimes, major parts of the novel change. Sometimes, after a revision, the novel doesn’t even seem like itself – it should feel better.
Here’s the kicker – if you can’t do that, if you are too stuck on your novel’s current state, then you might not ever get it off the ground.
Writing a novel isn’t easy, or everyone would be doing it.
Conclusion: if you’re stuck on your novel, find a beta reader or hire an editor. If you’re self-published, hire an editor AND find beta readers. A poorly edited novel will get the wrong attention.