The Curse of Enthusiasm: “Don’t Get Cocky, Kid.”

You’ll never get anywhere in this business if you don’t have a healthy ego and believe that you are indeed producing good work that people want to read.

But in the words of a famous pilot, “Don’t get cocky, kid.”

The biggest mistake I made when I began was in being too confident in my abilities.

A few years ago, I finished writing my novel ARCH ENEMIES. Filled with enthusiasm for my baby, I rushed it off to every agent and publisher listed in the traditional resources. Surely they would see it for the masterpiece it was! How would I decide between the multiple offers that would flow my way?ArchEnemies-510

As you have guessed, I spent a year collecting rejection letters.

One reason for this, which shall be discussed in a future blog, was due to poor query letters (an art in itself, I have discovered). But the real reason was that the book deserved to be rejected.

After some time, I went back and re-read it. And found that while the characters and plot were fun, the writing itself was clumsy and pedestrian. I was so excited about my story that I had basically submitted my first draft.

I rewrote it, almost line by line, and not wanting to embarrass myself further, submitted it to the small (but growing rapidly) publisher Double Dragon, who accepted. It has since done quite well with them. But even now, I want to rewrite sections.

So today’s lesson is this: Slow down. Don’t be so enthusiastic. Take your work and set it aside for a while until you calm down, and then go over it line by line. Get that first draft out quickly to get the right feel and flow for the material, but never forget that it is a first draft.

Coming to a later post: Ideas aren’t everything. Everyone has them.

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