Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Confidence Boost

I'm going to be a little lazy today and direct you to a post that really boosted my confidence today, just in case anyone needs it. Rachelle Gardner has posted extracts from editorial letters she has written to agented, published or contracted authors.

I felt great after reading them. They reminded me that a book doesn't need to be perfect to get published. It just needs to be as good as you can make it without help. Some of the issues Rachelle mentions (especially the first one, where she is 1/3 of the way through the novel and still doesn't feel excited about what's happening, nor has the core conflict been revealed) seem absolutely huge. But evidently there was something else - characterisation, writing style, whatever - that elevated this book.

I'm not saying that Rachelle's post means it's fine to write something half-assed and send it off. But when I see the huge gap between my drafts and the finished novels I read, I remind myself that the finished novels had the help of professional eyes. And that it's entirely possible that 'the best we can be' is enough.

Provided it really is the best, if course. Expecting people to read work you know to be substandard is just bad manners!

Talking of confidence boosts, an early reader of my second draft of Becky thoroughly enjoyed it :) I'm delighted not only because it bodes well for the third (and please please please final!) draft, but because this person voluntarily gave their time to read it and I'm glad they felt the time they spent on me passed enjoyably. 

I'll be talking a bit more about sharing work on Friday. In the meantime, any confidence boosting stuff you want to tell us about? Have you received any nice compliments lately? It's a rare sunny day here in Dublin - spread the positivity!


  1. Off I go to have my confidence boosted!! thanks for the link!!!

    Good luck with your writing!!! Yay for final drafts! Take care

  2. I read Rachelle's post earlier today, and I have to say I had a similar feeling to you, namely relief I think!

  3. I need a confidence boost - heading over to Rachelle's now. Enjoy the sunshine!

  4. How fun! I think I'll go check it out. It's a mistake writers often make, comparing their rough drafts to published novels. It's nice to know how far you have to go, but not nice if it makes you give up altogether!

  5. Thanks Kitty :)

    Glad to know I'm not alone Sarah! It really cheered me up!

    Karen, hope it works for you too!

    Exactly, Karen - I usually find that reading is motivating for me, but sometimes if I've just re-read one of my own drafts, reading polished work is depressing! So I sometimes try to only read very familiar books when I'm at a stage where I'm re-reading my own a lot. It helps because the language and structure doesn't strike me as much when it's familiar.

  6. Sounds very encouraging - I'm off for a read. Thanks!

  7. Sounds very encouraging... Thanks Ellen :)


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