Perfectly Polished: What it Takes to Succeed as a Writer

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Friends of ACFW, writing 4 Comments

By Loretta Eidson

A manicure and perfectly polished fingernails make me feel better about the appearance of my hands. I love transferring to the nail technician the responsibility of clean-cut cuticles, hang-nail removal, filing, applying the polish and drying. It’s her job to make me happy with her work and leave me with the desire to return.

Writers don’t have the luxury of dropping unedited manuscripts onto the laps of agents or editors for them to clean up for us. It is our responsibility to polish each piece and strive for the perfection they seek. None of our work, to my knowledge, has ever been deemed perfect, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to slack off if we want to capture the publisher’s attention. Let us strive to please them as the nail technician attempts to please us so they will seek us out and request to see more of our writing.

Therefore, we have an obligation to do our best, which requires more than tapping away at the keyboard and producing a novel. What’s needed is:

  • A strong desire or a special calling to surrender to such a time-consuming task.
  • Dedication, determination, and consistency to stay on track with commitments and deadlines.
  • A willingness to adhere to instructions from agents and editors on the craft and make the appropriate corrections.
  • Tenacity to sit for hours, days, and sometimes months to complete a writing goal.
  • Tough skin to receive rejections, and not give up or quit. Remember, receiving a rejection isn’t a personal slam against us. It can mean the piece isn’t a good fit for the publisher at the time or the piece may need more polishing.
  • A teachable spirit and a humble attitude.

The more we write, the more toiling takes place over sentence structure, passive voice, too many beats or not enough dialogue. Is it showing or telling? Is the point of view (POV) consistent? We write, edit, rewrite, edit again, do word searches, and flip sentences, only to discover the necessity for a few more adjustments.

As with any profession, employees go through training for their new positions, and in most cases, they are required to take refresher courses to keep abreast of improvements in their businesses. Being an author is no different. It is our responsibility to stay alert to the changes in the publishing industry and abide by them if we want to succeed.

When writers do not follow the guidelines or hope editors will overlook the errors, we write with unprofessional and wrong methods. Beware of the misconception that our writing is perfect simply because we feel called to write. Let’s put forth the extra effort to make our work as perfectly polished as possible.

What it Takes to Succeed as a Writer by @lorettajeidson #ACFWBlogs #amwriting Click To Tweet

Loretta Eidson writes romantic suspense and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray. She won first place in romantic suspense in the 2018 Foundations Awards at the BRMCWC, was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis. She was a double finalist in the 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence. She lives in North Mississippi with her husband Kenneth, a retired Police Captain. Along with her website, find Loretta on Facebook and Twitter.




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