Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Laugh and Let Manuscripts Rest

I had a manuscript open yesterday when my husband went to use the computer.

Him: "You're still working on this!?"

Me: (Laughing) Yes, I found a publisher I want to send it to. They'll actually be the first to see this story. And I just sent out "x manuscript" to four publishers. It's a record!

He smirked, shook his head, and went about his business.

Yes, this pretty typical. It's a sort of conversationy-ish thing we have every so often. I don't talk about my writing all that much. I don't want to drive my husband crazy! He is supportive and will listen but I don't want to overwhelm him. I mean, I could just talk about writing and all that goes with it 24/7. Nobody wants to hear that, but us writers of course. We're crazy like that. ;) I think it's probably hard being married to a writer while not being one. It's a funny business. Things can take such long time. There is so much involved.

This manuscript I am sending out for the first time is over six months but maybe less than a year old. I don't really keep track of that kind of stuff. I do know that the manuscript has been sitting on my computer for at least a couple of months waiting for my attention. I'm back to reading it now. With very fresh eyes. I'm laughing at the jokes like I've never heard them before. I'm surprised by little things. I am enjoying reading! And I'm keen to pick out any little things that need to be fixed before I send it off to this perfect publisher that I have found. There is no way I would have seen all the things I see now if I did not take the time to "forget" about this manuscript and let it rest. I know it's easy to want things to happen with our writing "right now", (Geez, I feel like I've said that before on this blog. Maybe a few too many times! ;) but unless you are some perfect, amazing writer, you will find things that can be improved when you let your manuscripts sit for a month or two, or *gasp* even three!

"X manuscript" that I am finally sending out is really old. I wrote it I don't know how many years ago. It got a lot of interest from agents way back when. It has seen its share of contradictory revision notes. That kind of makes it a tough one to know what to do with. I've finally just decided to start sending it out into the world of publishers and give my sweet little characters, who I am now really attached to because I have known them for so long, a chance. After so much rest time I can see clearly now what all those seemingly contradictory revision notes were asking. I can also imagine my characters waiting around in those slush piles dancing around and yelling, "Woohoo! She didn't forget us! We're out on submission! We might get into a real book someday!" Yes. I have written a story about my characters being out on submission. I know. It's weird.

So anyway, rest your manuscripts and laugh along at yourself with significant others who aren't writers. I mean, it is kind of funny to work on an 800 word story for years, isn't it? Maybe not as funny as imagining your characters in the slush pile. I haven't told my husband about that one yet. There is only so much a man can take.


  1. You are so right, Heather! Even though it's hard not to be impatient, rest is always good! I ALWAYS find things to fix - and quite a lot of them! - after I've put a ms away for a bit. I was laughing about your conversation with your husband :) I thought I was the only one who wanted to talk writing 24/7 to a spouse who is supportive... but really doesn't want to talk about it that much :) Even though he's a musician - he should get it more on some level! :)

  2. I agree 100%, Heather. And thank you for planting very funny images in my brain of slush piles with dancing characters! Ha!!

  3. I had a similar discussion with the hubster last week! He (a non-writer) thinks an author should be able to write and publish the next day. I keep most of my writing thoughts as inner chatter; it's easier that way. I love going back to an older ms and rediscovering characters and plots. I love the small surprises and the, "Oh my! I wrote this?" moments. Best of luck with your newest subs. May the writing force be with you. :)

  4. Yep! I know what you mean on the spouse front (even thought my husband is very supportive). And I so agree about letting a manuscript rest. Best thing you can do. That's why I like to rotate projects.

  5. I love hearing that you have supportive spouses that you try not to overwhelm with publishing talk. Sounds like love!

    And I agree, Diana. Manuscript rotation works great for letting stories rest. As picture book writers we can get a pretty large rotation going too.

    My characters are still dancing Dana!