Thursday, February 25, 2010
30 years for a manuscript to get published
I read recently about an author, Selden Edwards, who worked on his novel, The Little Book, for thirty years before it was finally published by Dutton.
To be fair, he wasn't working on it non-stop during that time. He did what many of us have done: write it, shove it, revisit and revise, submit, rinse, repeat.
But really, how many of us have something that's been on our minds that we've doggedly worked on for thirty years?
I started my my first novel seven years ago. It began its life as an assignment for a writing course. Completing the book was the beginning of my journey to learn and hone my craft: I read books on writing fiction, experimented with different types of work, submitted my work regularly to critique groups, entered contests for feedback, and paid attention to the books I read as a writer as well as a reader.
And rewrote and rewrote and rewrote based on what I've learned.
So, while I've occasionally wondered about how slowly this first book came together, I also know that writing the novel wasn't the only thing I was doing during the time.
I don't know the fate of my book, whether it will be published, and when. But Edward's story of persistence gave me a boost. Sometimes it's good to file away early works as exercises, but sometimes it's good to hang on to the hope that willingness to improve and perseverance can win.