Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

Yesterday was a big day in my writing journey. It was the first time I received feedback from a professional editor. A couple posts back, I mentioned that I hired a pro to review my agent query packet. This was a big deal for me, for a couple of reasons…

First – I’ve never had a professional review my work before (aside from my college writing professors). Second – throughout my life, writing has been a private practice for me. Sharing my words, even with those closest to me, has been challenging. Maybe this is because, in the past, I’ve associated writing with my dark days. I wrote when I was depressed, which helped me process the pain. My journals housed my secrets and my privacy.

This is all changing now, and there’s no going back. I’m pumped to be pushing forward at full throttle, and I’ve never been more ready.

Seeing as though this book project has so much energy behind it, I experienced a mix of nervousness and excitement as I read through the editor’s comments. Here’s a brief recap:

She gave kudos to my author bio and query letter, with some minor changes. She also described my query as “very compelling with strong writing by an author who has a clear sense of purpose and vision for her project.” Naturally, this made me super happy!

As for her analysis about the manuscript itself (keep in mind: she only read the first three chapters)…  the long and short of it is this: I get to re-visit the beginning. I started my story too early, and I now realize that I can create a more compelling hook for the reader, coming out of the gate. I don’t need to give so much back story about my childhood.

Having never written a book before, I honestly didn’t know where to begin. When I started writing the book, my rationale was this: I’d rather write too much and cut sections than not write enough and feel like something is missing. It’s amazing how she clearly identified the areas where I held back and doubted myself, too. This was one of my favorite parts of her in-depth editorial analysis:
“You’re a strong writer, so stop using a crutch. Trust your skills!” This comment refers to a lengthy prologue that I wrote, which will now be re-structured or cut entirely.

The editor’s feedback helped me so much, and while I may be cutting a few thousand words from the book before I even submit the next round of agent queries, I think it’s necessary.

So, this is where I’m at… brainstorming new beginnings. My mission is to bring the reader into the story in such a way where he or she will be immediately invested. The editor also suggested that I hold off on querying agents until my manuscript is complete. This part is hard for me because landing that publishing deal is so wildly important, and I know that this will delay the process. Patience has never been my strong point, but after putting so much time and energy into the project, I want to do everything in my power to set it up for success.

I did the math, and I need to write approximately 850 words per day to reach my October 1 goal of completion. This is doable, with a heavy dose of self-discipline. It’s “go time,” friends!

As always, I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. I’ll leave you with a beautiful mantra that’s serving me in this moment:

“Everything Worthwhile Takes Time to Become”

What I’m currently listening to: The Portfolio Life Podcast with Jeff Goins 

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