A Plan for 2013: Getting to THE END and Pressing SEND

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by Kathleen Y’Barbo

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end, be it a year or a book. I sit in the shadow of a Christmas tree now devoid of gifts and dropping needles like crazy, painfully aware that 2012 is almost no more. Midnight ushers in 2013, and with the new year comes new plans, new goals, new deadlines, and for many of you, new writing-related resolutions.

Planning on sending off his or her first book to editors or agents this year? Great! Or perhaps you’re sending your second, or third, or fourteenth off for consideration. Also great! That’s what ACFW exists to encourage. After all, writers write.

Maybe your book is already done and you’re just trying to tweak it a little more and then you’ll send it. You’ve done line edits, sent it though your critique group, and yet you’re still not ready to let it go. Can I get an amen? All right, then. Here’s a novel idea–pun intended: Get to the end, and press send.

Yes, that’s right. There are authors out there who do not know when to stop working on their completed manuscript. Yes, editing is important. Yes, we want to have the best possible manuscript to present to editors or agents. But how are these publishing professionals going to usher your book into print if you don’t release it into their hands?

I am not suggesting that you turn out a substandard product. What I’m saying is that at some point, you just have to recognize you have done your best and then just let it go. I realize you want the book to be just right. Completely perfect in every way.

Guess what? It’s never going to be perfect. Ask any published author if they wouldn’t jump at the chance to tweak their books that are already in print. And these are novels that have been through multiple edits. So, understand that you’ve done your best and let it go.

Or perhaps your problem isn’t perfectionism. Maybe your real issue is fear. Fear of rejection. Or maybe fear of success.

Did I hit a nerve? If so, ask yourself: of what am I afraid? What is the opposition that’s keeping me from moving forward?

Is the Lord telling me to wait, or am I in defiance of what He wants? Yes, defiance. Writers, if you’ve been charged with the job of writing for the Lord then you’ve got to be gut-honest and ask yourself if you’re standing in the way of what God wants to use you to do. If you are, you’ll know it. And if you are, you’re walking in disobedience.

My son, Jacob, has a great saying: “Just because you’re planning to do something, that doesn’t mean you have a plan.”

So plan now for a productive and successful 2013. Begin by reaching the end and pressing send. Then, while you’re waiting, begin the next book!

Happy 2013 to all and to all a good read!

Bestseller Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of forty-five novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. Romantic Times magazine has bestowed nominations for a Career Achievement Award, a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks including Flora’s Wish, is a February 2013 RT Top Pick. Find out more: www.kathleenybarbo.com.

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