By Kathleen Y’Barbo
Reaching THE END and Pressing SEND at the 2013 ACFW Conference
In less than two weeks, conferees will descend on Indianapolis for the 2013 ACFW Conference. Most hope to leave with some measure of success, be it a manuscript requested, an agent interested, or perhaps new friends made. Others hope to learn how to do what they love-writing-better. This year I will be teaching a series of Continuing Ed workshops on Saturday and Sunday mornings called FINISH THE BOOK: Reaching THE END and Pressing SEND. These workshops are designed to guide writers toward finishing a manuscript and then submitting it to editors or agents. Here are a few topics we will be covering:
Know when to stop. 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 let it go. You’ve done your best way back at steps 1 and 2 to identify what needs work and you’ve done the work. Sometimes the problem is perfectionism. 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: what am I afraid of? What’s 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. Because 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. Just sayin…
Know what to do next. Yes, next. You’re finished with the book. You’ve done the work of editing, and now you’re placing your manuscript in the hands of an editor or agent. Great! That’s awesome! Now what? Well, good question. Are there other manuscripts languishing in a file somewhere that need attention? Knock the dust of the next one and start the process all over again. Or maybe you’ve got another idea begging to be given some attention. Go for it! Sit down and write a paragraph or two. Or start a first chapter. Write! That’s what you do next.
See you in Indy!
Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a Carol Award and RITA nominee of forty-nine novels with one million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad and nominations including a Career Achievement Award, Reader’s Choice Awards, Romantic Times Book of the Year, and several Romantic Times Top Picks. Find out more at www.kathleenybarbo.com.