Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Am I Good Enough?


 

It's been a long time coming, but I've wanted to be a part of Alex's monthly support group for a while. Not to vent or rant, per say, but to admit, in spite of the enthusiasm and positivity I love to surround myself with and perpetuate, I shouldn't be afraid to let my insecurities out once in a while. This is a great excuse to let the chips fall.

Is my writing really good enough?

This is likely a most unoriginal question, but that's what I've asked myself in the last month. After shopping a novel for over a year, the longest attempt I've made yet, I've finally grasped the meaning of subjectivity. Rejections are part of the business and a "no thanks" letter doesn't phase me anymore - it's the on-going ones that do.

I once asked an agent if having a coauthor makes a difference in trying to rep a book verses one author. The answer: "It doesn't matter. It's all about the writing." I assume she means good writing. I totally get that and agree with that. Thing is, I've had a wonderful chance to share this novel with lots of people, more than any of my previous attempts, mostly from strangers who read home-printed copies from my family and close friends. Some have emailed me. One reader said her only complaint was that she couldn't "go to Walmart and buy the next one." Reader support has been breathtaking. I thank each and every one of you. This is why I want to write.

When it comes to publishing this book ... that's another matter. I've yet to spark this mysterious enthusiasm that my readers have with those who are in a position to champion it, make it better than I know how and take it to the next level. Some have been helpful in their rejections. Most have been silent. The problem is, I know my writing is good enough, at least on par with debut novels in the last year. Is my writing good enough? One can't help but ask this question.

What about self publishing? - believe me, it's sounding better and better each day, but that will be our endgame. I know this story is great. There is no doubting that, and my coauthor and I feel this story deserves a chance with the best people as possible. Self publishing could happen if we run out of doors to knock on.

I already know the answer. Yes. It is good enough. It might be better than I think it is. The ongoing support I receive is proof of that, and I'm not going to tarnish that support by whining and complaining. I own these rejections. I have more stories than I could tell in a lifetime and I know one of them will ignite that spark, so I will keep at it.

Thanks for enduring my spiel - it feels good letting that out.

I'm David, and I should've joined this group sooner!

49 comments:

  1. Just glad you're a part of it now!
    Keep going. Most of it is in the timing. You will find a home for your manuscript.

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  2. Hi David, I know how hard it is to shop your manuscript. I had the same game plan - self publish if I couldn't find an agent. Your book will find its home - I'm sure it will.
    Karen

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  3. I find it great that you've reached the point where you can say 'Yes, it's good enough.' This business is subjective - horribly. But luckily, we're not in it alone and can whine every now and then ;)

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  4. All it takes is a great story and a bunch of readers! Keep plugging forward. You got this!

    Good luck!

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  5. Hi David. You're not the only one who questions whether your writing is good enough. I do, a lot (obviously my writing, not yours... you know what I mean).

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  6. I totally needed to hear this, I've been asking myself the same questions lately, and have come to the same conclusion. The writing world is so tough, but I really believe in you! And yes, I co-authored Weresquirrel, that was the brain child of my critique group. Terron did most of the final writing but we all came up with the plot together :)

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  7. It is great when you think you have something good and then someone else actually confirms it isn't just you, it really IS good. Welcome to the group!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  8. Hi David,nice to meet you. I've been meaning to look you up and there you are at IWSG.

    It is inspirational to have someone post about their rejections but not their feelings of being rejected. I love it that you KNOW your writing and story are good. Hang in there, it IS all about timing and your time will come.

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  9. You are definitely good enough, my friend. I think you'll win a Hugo someday. You just need to learn when to kick the baby out of the carriage (which I think you are about to do). I can't wait until you get agented up and get the shiny book deal.

    BTW, if you know anyone in Salt Lake City that is interested in Assistive Technology, my workplace (The Utah Center for Assistive Technology) is having a free open house today starting at 4:00 p.m. Free food, demonstrations, plus Muffy Davis (the gold medal winner from the paralympics) will be here. We are at 1595 West 500 South.

    Also, Morgan Shamy got agented up. I think she's not going to write a post about it. But you should stop by there anyway and say. "ZOMGAH MORGAN THIS IS LE AWESOME POSSUM!"

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  10. Oh my gosh! I'm reading Mike's post above me. LOL, Michael! You are too cool.

    Anyway, this is totally what my fear is. I GET this. I soooooo get this. I carry this with me every day--despite small successes. But I tell myself it's a good thing, because we'll always be pushing. Always striving to be better. And you, DPK, have magic. It surrounds certain people, and it's there with you so I have NO DOUBT you will get where you want to go. (I know you know this! It still doesn't stop the fear/doubt unfortunately!)

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  11. Hi David-- Boy, your thoughts resonate a lot with many first-time novelist wannabes (what a title!). It's one thing to write it and believe in it, it's a whole other thing to convince the Powers That Be to believe in it too-- enough to take a chance with your work. The publishing world is a'changing, and I'm sure we will have to learn to navigate it, self-publishing perhaps being one option.

    In the meantime, heck, I'm still just working on the MS.

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  12. It's fab that you're so positive - I'm sure you'll get where you want to be, whether it's with this book or the next one. Best of luck :-)

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  13. That's the attitude. This business is so subjective. I'm glad you're hanging in there.

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  14. As someone who took the self-publishing route, unless you are also an excellent marketer, don't self-publish, get the cred's behind you before the self-publishing route. That's just my take, but had I to do it all over again, I would collect another 100 rejections before taking the self-publishing route, and then maybe another 100.

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  15. I know what you mean. I ask all the time, "Is it good enough?"
    As I am learning, you gotta hang in there. I guess we can hang together?

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  16. Hi, David. I'm also new to the IWSG. I was also going to say timing seems to have a hand in these things. Trends too. While fantastic stories maybe overlooked, mediocre writing can get a lot of attention if it just happens to follow a trend (anyone notice all of these kinky Fifty Shades of Grey-esque books that are popping up out nowhere? Or all the vampire-romance novels that emerged in the wake of Twilight). I suppose one could always intend to follow the trend, but that's not what a good writer would do. I'm sure the time will come for you, and your success will be truly your own, not riding on the coat-tails of someone who just happened to make something fashionable! Best of luck :)

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  17. Keep going, David. I'm sure your time will come although I know how hard it can be to stay positive. I always tell myself 'it might be next time' so I have to try again!

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  18. The longer I'm in this publishing world, it's the people who don't ask this question ever that concern me :) There are so many factors that go into publishing, but ensuring everything is the best you can make it certainly makes things easier!

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  19. Sounds like your positive attitude will keep you on the right track. I think that your questions will help you work harder in achieving your goals. Julie

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  20. Welcome to IWSG. You are right in that we all ask that question I think and good for you that you can say youa re good enough. It's so subjective, and all one can do is exactly as you are - keeping going with a positive attitude!

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  21. Just hang in there, and continue to believe in yourself and your work's potential. I hear so many stories about authors getting countless rejections before someone takes a chance on them, and the rest is history.

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  22. I haven't read your stuff, so I can't comment on that part, but you should really look at the good and the bad of traditional publishing before trying to keep going that direction. I mean, even if you do get picked up, you will have to do most of the work yourself. The only real benefit you might get out of a publisher is some cover art and an editor, and you may not even get the editor. More and more publishers are requiring authors to provide work already edited. You won't get any marketing support from them as a new author, either. In the end, you will basically be paying them so that you can do all the work you would have to do if you self publish it, except, if you self publish, you will actually, potentially, get more money. I could go on, but I've done that often enough, so I'll just stop there.
    It's a hard road either way, but you should really look at where the most benefit comes later down the line not just right now.

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  23. Something tells me you'll get your book published. You will. Call it woman's intuition, whatever, but I do believe you'll get there. Truly.

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  24. Yes, I question myself that too sometimes. Am I a good enough writer? Am I good enough to get published one day? I also wished I joined this group sooner instead of looking in. I love this group...you're all so supportive of each other and what matters most, is that WE LEAN ON EACH OTHER BACKS for encouragement. :)

    Nice to meet you! *shake hands*

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  25. Hi David :)

    Just popping in from the IWSG! I love this group, because it gives me one day, where i can allow myself to be whiney lol.

    You are definitely not alone in the way you feel honey, i think we all have that exact same fear.

    Good luck, stay positive and NEVER give up!

    xx

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  26. I've blogged a bunch on this topic as of late, became rejection from agents and publishers drove me to self publish- not the volume mind upon: I can take that. But the conflicting advice and the fact hat it all came down to "your story is great, but not easily marketable!" you have confidence, and that will lead you to great things!

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  27. I think we all wonder this a lot. Hold onto the positive comments is all you can do and keep on plugging along.

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  28. I don't think we ever get over this feeling. Even after getting representation, there's still the editors to face. And what happens when the manuscript which is most beloved of all your family, friends, beta-readers, and possibly even your agent still can't pass that hurdle with editors?

    It's not about being good enough. It's about being at the right place at the right time. And that's frustrating, because there's no way you can improve that skill!

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  29. Sometimes, there's more to why a book doesn't get a champion than just greatness of writing. It's so frustrating because you can hear things like "you need to improve your writing" with grace and clarity. If someone says the writing needs work, that's easy, you work on the writing. What's hard is when there isn't anything wrong with the writing, and it still doesn't get the attention you hoped for. I don't know what to say other than perseverance will win the day.

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  30. You don't necessarily need to treat self-publishing as a last resort. Many find it very empowering. Getting in front of readers is the most important goal, and you've already had a great response from yours! Whatever you do, keep your chin up - the quality of your writing is NOT in question. (I've read your flash fiction.) :)

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  31. Thanks so much for sharing David. It is so tough to keep it in perspective that this is such a subjective business. How could so many love it, yet it gets no interest from agents? Its very frustrating.

    I applaud your persistence in staying with it. After I start submitting I start the next book so as the 'nos' roll in I can tell myself that the one I'm currently writing is 'the one'. If I would have stuck with the other rejected ones more, would they have gotten me an agent? Maybe... I'll never know cause I didn't stick with it long enough to find out.

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  32. Am I good enough? Yup. That IS the question. I think I'm getting there...I hope.

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  33. I attended a writer's conference last year. Many of the agents in attendance said e-publishing and self publishing are becoming the wave of the future. In fact, one of the agents was working with a rep from Amazon to get that site's e-publishing up and running. If you haven't checked it out perhaps you might consider that route.

    FWIW, the agents also said the query letter is the one thing that stands between an acceptance or rejection. If you haven't received any requests for partials or fulls, the query may be the culprit. Janet Reid's site is helpful with this. I have also seen a lot of them on Scribophile. Fellow writers are the best critics. Hope this helps.

    Wishing you all the best on your journey to publication.

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  34. I have no doubt in my mind I'll be seeing hundreds of David Powers King novels, and I can brag to all my friends that I know him! And you know, even after all that happens for you, I bet you'll still wonder if you're good enough. I think that's a perma-gene in writerhood. (Yes, I made up those words, just go with it!)

    Never give up, never surrender! ;)

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  35. Welcome to IWSG! This is my 2nd month so I am new too.
    Don't give up. I'm a firm believer that timing is everything

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  36. This is my second month too :) I am glad that your readers have given you the support and strength to barrel through the rejections. I doubt it's your writing not being good enough. I like Kelly's tactic, but I have also been researching self-publishing ... mostly for short stories at the moment. I'm starting to see it as a starting place, rather than a last resort. The exercise certainly grants the business-sense to figure out how to operate writing as a business, rather than a purely creative pursuit, which can only be good for a writer no matter their publishing method.

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  37. You're awesome David! And I know I need to join this group too!

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  38. good to hear you'll keep at it. And I don't think that question ever goes away--even for established writers.

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  39. Hi, David,

    You said it ... We are on the same course. I honestly believe it's timing and luck. When it's time you will be in the right place and your story will fall into the right hands.

    Hang in there our time will come. It's nice to know we have good friends traveling on the same road. It's amazing what a smile and a kind word can do.

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  40. Hey Dave,

    (Before I forget... *THANKS* for commenting everywhere I was Monday and sorry I'm late here :)

    You know what, I always thought you *were* part of IWSG - I think of you and Alex as peers when it comes to the support you've shown me (and many, many others:)

    I'm happy to see you know you're writing is good enough and that you are open to self-publishing.

    I'm on the same train as you, (sitting in the next carriage, five seats down, on the right) and I *know* the memoir I'm co-writing *will* see the light of day.

    Keep the faith, DPK.

    Yes, you are good, no scratch that, you are *great* enough.

    I'm Mark, and my pal, Dave, has mad skills.

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  41. Hi Dave! I'm hoping to get published someday too and I guess we all ask the same question. The good thing about asking it though is that it keeps us wanting to perfect our craft and do better than the last. A lot like life. Perfection is the end of the road. The journey is more important and yes, even more exciting.

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  42. Hey! Welcome to IWSG!
    Loved your post, especially the last paragraph. So powerful. You'll get there, David!

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  43. Self publishing is hard work, but I think in today's market place it's often a new writers best bet. Hire a freelance editor to catch anything you might miss, make a marketing plan and go for it. Good luck!

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  44. David, I hear Kindle Direct is the route to go. I'm trying to encourage a good friend of mine, who just happens to be one hellova writer, to self-publish. She's the type who needs to be in total control, and Kindle gives you that. I have two small publishers because where I live limits me to outside contact. But if you're in a major city in Utah, give it seriously consideration. You have 100% hands on control, and you're in the right area to market. I know it's a scary situation, throwing yourself out there. But if it's not your day job and you don't need to support your family on your book sales, it's a way to get your feet way and to show a potential agent you've got what it takes to succeed.

    Happy IWSG. And thanks for joining my blog.

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  45. I have heard nothing but good things about your writing David. Stick to your guns. Someone somewhere is waiting for your story to come across their desk. Your path to publication may be a long one, but I can tell that it's going to be so rewarding when it does happen for you!

    :)

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  46. Focus on your positives and eventually an opportunity will present itself :)

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  47. I know, I know. It's Friday, and I'm still making my rounds for IWSG! But hey, you've finally joined us. :)) Gosh, I think we all ask this question a zillion times. Submitting can feel like banging your head against a wall. Really hard. Over and over. But you just gotta hang in there. Believe in your work (which is sounds like you do!), and keep on, keeping on. :)

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  48. You've gotta have faith in your own writing to make it in the wild west of publishing these days. Glad you're ready to hang in there!

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