Thursday, 29 March 2012

How Do You Know When Your Work Is Ready To Send Out?

I was talking to someone yesterday who said they felt sick to death with their work. I said that probably meant it was ready to go out. There's no point in hanging onto work and editing it into the ground while you feel more and more fed up with it. If you can't think of anything more to do with it then get it out there and see what happens!

However, if you've got any inkling that all isn't well, then you should wait until you know what it is and have fixed it. I've sent work out that I've had a nagging suspicion wasn't quite right, and hoped that magically someone wouldn't notice but sure enough, it's come back with feedback that nails my nagging suspicion.

I also think you shouldn't send out if you've only just finished writing. Leave it for a week - a month if you can bear it - and then have a read. The longer the gap between writing and reading, the more you'll be able to see it with new eyes. When I do publicity for a new book it's usually been a year since I've last really looked at it, and boy - can I see things I'd like to change! Too late, of course, to do anything about it, but it's taught me that you really do see more if there's a long gap.

But if you've left it, come back and done another edit, and now you're sick to death of it - send it out. A half way house is to send it to friends or even to buy in some professional feedback. But get it out there and see what feedback you get. It's the only way you'll know.


penny simpson said...

Sarah - the part about leaving your work is so right. I had a blip last autumn and didn't write for some time. When I eventually lifted the pages, yes there were some clunky bits that made me squirm but, more importantly, I was able to see solutions to things that had been stumbling blocks in the past. And the best part of all? Thanks to you I can now claim my slothfulness was part of my planned writing schedule!

Sarah Duncan said...

But of course it was, Penny. A fallow period is inevitable somewhere along the way - we're writers, after all, not machines.