Sometimes, the hardest thing for writers is to put the pen down and declare their work finished. You’ve written the first draft, edited and proofread it (then edited and proofread some more!) — but you can’t seem to take the next step and submit your work to literary agents and editors. At LoneThread, we know that too often, in their quest to create the perfect story, essay, poem, or book, writers overwork and overthink every detail. Or, paralyzed by indecision, they never submit their writing out of fear that it’s just not “good enough.” When is it time to let go? Here’s how to stop revising and start submitting your writing.
Set your work aside.
Once you’ve written the last word, set your work aside and let some time pass. Start a new piece of writing, engage in other hobbies, or take a walk outside — whatever gets your mind off the hamster wheel of revising this specific piece. After some time (whether it’s hours, days, or weeks), when you look at your manuscript again, you’ll have a clearer view of whether or not it’s ready to go out. And if it needs more editing, you’ll see the areas in need of improvement with fresh eyes.
Have someone else do the proofreading.
After all your time and effort carefully writing and rewriting a piece, you don’t want to have a literary agent or editor reject it because of sloppy margins or blatant grammar gaffes. However, the proofreading stage is where many writers get stuck. Checking for typos and grammar errors can suck you right back into the revision stage. What started out as a great story or poem can be spoiled when you add or take away too much. When in doubt, let it be.
If proofreading your work leads you to start tweaking and revising, you might want to have someone else do the proofreading. You can choose to have another writer or a grammar geek friend handle the proofreading stage, or hire a professional. (Pssst…we offer great proofing and formatting services!)
Imagine the work is already published.
It may sound silly, but try imagining whatever you’re working on as an already published piece. Picture it in the pages of your favorite literary journal or as a published book. If you can’t seem to stop revising and start submitting, this may be the mental push that helps you move on to the next step. After all, you won’t get to where you’re visualizing if you don’t ever hit the submit button!
Evaluate how much the latest round of revisions changed the piece.
If you’re at the point where you’re simply shuffling words or sentences around for the sake of making edits, and not because it’s really necessary, then you’re probably past the point of being ready to submit. Take a look back at the previous revision and then be honest with yourself about what your latest changes actually achieved. Are you just pushing words around to avoid submission, and therefore avoid possible rejection?
Work with LoneThread Books!
For many of our clients, having a set schedule for sending out work helps them to move past the endless cycle of revisions. Plus, we’ll proofread and format your work while researching the very best markets to boost your odds of getting an acceptance. Submit your short story, poetry, or book to our Review Board today and learn how we can help you stop revising and start submitting.
I hope this article will be helpful to you. Follow Lone Thread Books to learn more about reading, writing, and publishing.
| By, Aswy Hanna Paul, Lone Thread Books |