Over five years ago, I completed my first novel. Now, this wasn't really the first novel I had ever written, but this was the first novel that I actually thought was good enough for publishing. I worked on it day after day, writing furiously, and then printing it out and editing it. I then even gave it to a friend and she edited it with me. We discussed certain parts of the novel, and I changed a few parts based on these discussions. In my mind, I was ready.
Boy was I wrong!!!!
Satisfied with the novel, I decided to send it out. I purchased a book on how to submit to agents and publishing houses, and sent, sent, sent. If I even got a reply, I was lucky. Most of the time, I got form rejections. Only once I got a written rejection. It said, "This didn't do it for me." It was really tough and the rejections sent me into some soul searching. What was I doing wrong? Why didn't they love my novel as much as I did? Did I really have what it took to be a writer?
Well now that I have the luxury of hindsight, I can see my sin. I was in a rush to get published. I had written, edited, and "critiqued" my novel in one year. Perhaps if I were a more experienced writer, then yes, this could have been feasible. But I was a young novice (still am). I hadn't really taken the time needed to develop myself and my skills as a writer.
Also, perhaps my friend wasn't the best person to critique and edit my novel. She was a good friend and I appreciate her help, but what I needed was a group of people who specialized in this sort of thing. Several skilled eyes help catch things that one set of eyes do not.
So what have I done since then? I took a couple of writing classes, have had the novel critiqued several times, and have even re-written the novel. Three times. It took me four years since I wrote the first novel to the point of the third revision of the novel. It has been critiqued, polished, and edited. And for now, it has been put away.
Why? I still don't feel it is ready. After polishing it, I put it away and began a new novel. I am now at complete peace of mind. As I embark on the new novel, I do not feel the rush I once felt. I will keep working and working and working on the new novel until I feel it is truly ready. And knowing that I will work on it to my best has actually helped me gain more insight on the writing process and makes me feel more confident in my abilities. I feel far more secure that this time, when I am ready, I will receive more favorable responses.