I have been inspired, amazed and challenged by certain writers of late, whose determination and tenacity is seemingly tireless. People who, in the face of ‘rejection letters’ simply keep going! I like to think I will be like that once I have written those two magic words at the bottom of my MS but I do have some nagging suspicions that I won’t.
I have a sneaky feeling that I will crumple in a heap in a spectacular manner and cry things like “I knew it was no good anyway!” and “Why did I even think I could write anything!” and “I should have stuck to gardening!” (which, btw, I am not very good at either!) and generally drive my little corner of the world completely bonkers with my whining and wailing.
So, for me, it comes down to confidence. How do you know when to give up on an MS? How do you know when it truly is crap and you should start something new? How. Do. You. Know.
I guess then, it depends on who you have surrounded yourself with during the writing torture…ahem, process. Are you surrounded by people who don’t want to tell you the truth about your story because you will either fly into a rage, dissolve into tears or never speak to them again? Or, are you surrounded by ‘truth-speakers’ who will be honest in their appraisal of how your writing is going? Or are the people around you just not that into reading (God forbid!) or your genre in particular?
Friends and family are definitely a good place to start but some may not be comfortable telling you how it really is – the good and the bad (some family members may have a severe case of ‘tall poppy syndrome’ and would not even be enthusiastic about a draft from JK Rowling! NB – whatever you think of the Harry Potter series, the woman sells books!!).
The best thing I ever did was join a writing group. We share our work and give honest appraisals. And I am even luckier that they are all polite, genuine and lovely ladies, so even criticism is said with kindness. Without them, I think I would have given up on pressing forward with my MS. Without them, I wouldn’t know what the strengths and weaknesses are in my story, and indeed, in my writing in general.
It is still quite a distinct possibility that I will come completely undone by my first, second, third….seventy third rejection letter but at least I will have my writing buddies to help me pick up the pieces and hop back on that horse 🙂