Writing to write versus writing to publish

When I first started writing my first manuscript, one that I had been building for over ten years, I wrote with a sort of movie in my head – you know, the kind you see when you’re reading a great book – and I had so much fun writing it, there’s just no describing the feeling, but if you’re a writer, you know!

I wrote the parts I had always wanted to write first. Then I moved on to things I was dreading, and finally, and wrote what linked everything together. I finished at 127, 000 words.

I began querying with no idea of how the publishing world worked – I didn’t know about genres, queries, synopsis – I was even calling my manuscript a book (didn’t know the different between book and novel). I also used adverbs after pretty much every “said” thinking it was important to describe exactly what all the characters felt. Didn’t know about double spacing and didn’t know about passive verbs. I now cringe at the thought of what I had previously done, but I guess one has to learn at some point, eh?

After I made the corrections, by which time I was finishing the second manuscript in the series, I got really discouraged about the process and the amount of rejections I was receiving. You see, I had also queried over a hundred agents and publishers, one after the other with a really crappy (I’m being kind by using this word) query, and with obvious reasons, I got a hundred rejection letters back.

I decided to write a completely new manuscript – one that would stand alone – called MY SOUL TO GIVE. But with this manuscript came a realization: I was writing with the knowledge of the publishing world and with the goal of having the manuscript published. With the first one, I just wrote because I needed to write this story; it had been stuck in my head for all those years, and after having worked in depth at developing it all, it was just as necessary than breathing.

I noticed differences. Some good, some bad. The good was that, while writing, I knew what to do and what not to do, which saved some editing time. I knew what genre (well, a little more than before), what target audience, not to use adverbs – all those things. But on the other hand, the main bad point I saw in writing to publish was the hindrance of creativity I once felt while writing the previous manuscripts. It was a little like the difference between riding your bicycle in a fenced parking lot all by yourself with no cars around – just being free to go as fast or slow as you want, no obstacles – to suddenly having an opened parking lot with parked and moving cars all around so that you have to constantly maneuver around so many things you need to think about…….to the point where you don’t even to take the time to enjoy the fact that you’re riding that bicycle.

I’d like to hear about what you go through while writing to publish, and if you’ve found tricks on how to maneuver through those obstacles! Feel free to leave a comment!


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