Roni at Fiction Groupie has another thought-provoking post: Do You Write Quickly Enough to Maintain a Career.
This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, mainly in terms of *starting* my career.
I keep hearing how your manuscript has to be PERFECT before you send it anywhere. Look here and here. I wonder, "How perfect?" Is it really possible to write the perfect book? Will I sabotage myself by submitting it if it isn't ready? If I do my very best and it isn't good enough, does that mean I now blew any chance of ever getting it published? Can I revise it and give it a different title and try again?
So I'm terrified to say I'm done. I mean, I could have been done five times over by now, but how do I know if it's really done? I want to write a perfect book, but I know my skills aren't good enough for perfect, so is just "pretty good" okay? How about, "as good as I can make it in four years?" Is that good enough?
How much agonizing is productive, and how much is just... agonizing?
Should I pay for an expensive writing class, or professional editing?
I have no idea. These things paralyze the unpublished. Well, me at least.
Once you are published, you have professionals working with you to give you professional feedback, like your agent and editor. You also have the confidence of having sold at least one book already.
That's a whole different ballgame. At least, I imagine it is. I really wouldn't know.
Roni mentions in her post that some professional writers bang out first drafts in 4-6 weeks. Wow. That's impressive. Truly. But I can't imagine that any book written in 4-6 weeks would have the depth of character and story that one written in 4-6 months has. My own work has grown enormously just by having time to stew and get to know the characters and setting so well.
So, what do you think, readers? Have you submitted work to agents or publishers yet, and how long did it take you to finish them? Have you had any formal training or any professional editing? How much did you think it helped?