IWSG 29 Ready To Submit?

New IWSG BadgeThis post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



This months Co-Hosts:

Β Beverly Stowe McClure | Megan Morgan | Viola Fury | Madeline Mora-Summonte | Angela Wooldridge | Susan Gourley

I had to think about this. When do I know my story’s ready to submit?

As writers we do a lot to polish our work. I’m sure the stages vary for everyone.

I thought this would be a straightforward answer, but then I made a list of all the things I do to prepare my work for submission. To prevent boring you, I’ll jump to the short answer. I’m ready when I’ve read my work on an ereader and corrected the remaining typos.

But the above answer is only true if I don’t suddenly see a gaping plot hole, finally figure out how to implement a twist inspired by a beta reader, or it doesn’t meet my constantly rising benchmark. It’s as if I’m looking for a reason to not be ready, so I can start again.

How do I Get past it?

It’s when I say, “This is my best work yet.”

This one simple comment proves two things have happened. Oneβ€”all my practice has paid off. And twoβ€”I’m still growing as a writer. I learn and grow by doing. I don’t dare look back at previous works I’ve accepted contracts on, because there is no doubt I’d revise them again and again.

As writers, there’s a moment when dandelion-335222_1280we must let go. I’ve just revised my answer. My stories are ready when I’m ready to let them go.

Is it the same for you? Make sure to leave a link so I drop by.


123 responses to “IWSG 29 Ready To Submit?

  1. I’m with you, Anna. I keep tweaking until I’m ready to let go.

  2. Our stories are like our children. Do we ever feel that they are truly ready to meet the world? We do our best to the utmost of our abilities and let them go. πŸ™‚

  3. I’ve only submitted one thing recently and I’ve only self-pubbed another thing and I’m trying to think of when I thought they were “ready”–either to be written or to be submitted/published. It’s a tricky thing to figure out exactly when I was ready to let it out.

  4. Stopping by to say hey, in middle of moving so may be offline a couple of days will catch up with posts Monday if possible. I’m not sure, ready when they ready sounds good to me.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  5. I’m afraid I always feel ready before I’m ready. Or, I never feel ready. It really depends on the story. I think as we evolve and grow, we see things we didn’t see when we felt ready to submit the first time. It’s kind of like parenting, if we waited until we were truly ready, nobody would have children.

  6. After going over them 100 times, I have to say I’m done.

  7. I know I’m ready to submit when my revisions have come down to piddling word changes. If there is nothing left to change but phrases here and there … it’s ready.

  8. Mm, getting stuck in the endless loop of rewriting in search of perfection can derail a good story. And feed the compulsion to keep it safe… I’m sure by the time that I’m ready to let them go, they are ready to go πŸ˜‰

  9. I love your post Anna. You do know how to say the perfect message with just the right words. I agree. It has to be a final moment when we are proud of what we’ve made and believe whole heartedly in it. πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve been there as far as looking for a reason to say the story isn’t ready. Love your “this is my best work yet” comment. So true that we are all still growing as writers and it feels great to be able to say that.

  11. I think that raising the bar (that defines what’s ready) for every book you write is a good thing. Of course, that still leaves it up to you, which is why the question is so vexing. You know you’re growing as a writer when you look back at your earlier works and feel the need to make them even better.

  12. I like your way of thinking, “This is my best work yet.” Very positive and uplifting. I need to do this!

  13. Sometimes we have to just let the story go. After all, hopefully we’ll continue to grow as writers and our best work is still ahead of us, but we’ll never get there if we don’t let go of what we’re working on now when it is ready.

  14. As long as we keep growing and improving, our work will continue to get better and better. When it’s as good as we can make it at the time, it’s time to let it go.

  15. Stephanie Scott

    Reading on the ereader is SO helpful. I have not done this for every MS but I really should.

  16. I will endlessly tweak, given the time. πŸ™‚ Deadlines help, but that sense of pride is by far the best. Loni

  17. It can be hard to let go. We always want to send out our best work. I rely on my CPs. I can tell my story is getting close when their comments relate to small details.

    My link: http://cheriecolyer.blogspot.com

  18. Very true. I really like your statement on letting go. Also that it came to you like an epiphany. Cool.

  19. Excellent advice. I struggle with that whole letting go thing. I have to do better.

  20. When I’m ready to let them go is exactly the right time.

  21. A comment like that to let us know our story is good and we can be proud of itvrealky does help.

  22. You just revised your answer β€” that’s too funny. Do writers ever stop revising anything? No. We just have to let it go. (Are you singing yet?) πŸ™‚

  23. I agree with when you’re ready to let it go. Thanks for stopping by my site.

  24. “This is my best work yet.” That’s it! That’s the point when it’s ready to fly.

  25. Yes, I like your statement “This is my best work yet.” That is the feeling and the answer. Thanks for sharing!

  26. With me, it’s when I’m saturated and can’t look at it anymore:)
    Great post!

  27. Best of the best sure passes the test

  28. Letting go is the hardest part for me. Thanks for the checklist.

  29. There comes a moment when you have to say: that’s it; it’s done. Otherwise, we’ll tinkle with our stories forever. Someone wiser than me said once that no story is ever finished; they are abandoned. At some point, we have to abandon our stories, or they will never leave the nest (aka our computer’s hard drive).

  30. That’s a great point–I feel the same. I am recently at that point with my novel in progress, and my last read-through has shown me only minor errors and minor timeline issues. Being satisfied with it at this point does suggest to me that it’s almost ready, and it’s been through several beta readers as well. So sounds like I have the same final steps as you! πŸ˜‰

  31. It’s weird, but I never think of typos or grammatical mistakes when I edit. I make corrections when I run across them, of course, but but I never look for them when I edit. I’m not sure if that’s hubris or stupidity. πŸ˜€

    VR Barkowski

  32. Your belated co-host, Viola here. I’m rather the same way. Unless the story has a limited amount of words, due to a challenge constraint, then I plan ahead. A new concept for me. Thanks for sharing!

  33. I love this answer! Yes, it’s essential we keep growing as writers. I always feel my newest story is the best one yet too.

  34. Yes, that is exactly when a story is ready. When I say it is. I am going to embrace that truth.

  35. mlouisebarbourfundyblue

    “This is my best work yet!” I’m going to remember and use this line. I do think I’m improving constantly as a writer, so it will be easy to say!

  36. You have a great approach and growth is something I definitely feel with each draft, but … I’m a tinkerer. πŸ˜‰

  37. I’m never ready to let my stories go, but I do anyway. Sometimes I get the timing right, other times I don’t πŸ˜‰

  38. authorcrystalcollier

    That’s a great answer. I tend to be really slow to let things go. Sometimes my husband or editor has to pry them out of my hands. *sigh*

  39. Debbie Johansson

    I absolutely agree with you Anna. I’ve gone over some of work so many times I’m sick of them. Any re-writes are minor – the perfectionist in me refusing to let them go. I know this is only a stalling tactic and it’s time now to send them off to beta readers once again before that final destination to a publishers desk. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Angela Wooldridge

    Not looking back is great advice – I could waste years re-writing things that are too late to re-write

  41. Great insight into your writing process. It’s hard to know when to let go of the work and say, “It’s as good as it can be.”

  42. When I’ve edited to the point that my eyes are crossing, then I might be done. LOL. But yeah, I hope every new book is my personal best.

  43. I love your approach, that’s the way to go.

  44. When I think the story is ready I always like to do a read through on my e reader. It is amazing how little things still pop out at you and it seems like actually reading a book.

  45. I feel more secure with letting the short stories go than the novels. πŸ™‚ Just the way I am, obsessed.

  46. I think I get to a point where I can’t bare to look at the story again and I’m pretty sure that isn’t the time I should call it ready, but I did with my second book and I’ll never do that again.

  47. It is such a difficult question to answer. For articles, I certainly get to the point where I feel the story is ready. With my book, which is long not finished, I expect to have a harder time. I think it can always be better. You just have to let go, one day… Easier said then done, I expect. But, you are right, feeling ready is the best indicator.

  48. Heather M. Gardner

    Ready to let them go sounds about right.

  49. “They’re ready when you’re ready to let them go”… that’s gotta be the best answer I’ve read so far!

  50. Sometimes it’s hard to let them go, but it’s a must. Knowing when is even harder but it’s all a learning process. πŸ™‚

  51. I LOVED your last sentence… when it’s time to let them go, they are done….. EXCELLENT!

  52. It’s so smart to give your story that last read on a different device than what you wrote it on. I bet it makes all kinds of things jump out.

    I totally agree – we should always thing our latest work is our best.

  53. We writers are pretty insecure when it comes to letting our books go out into the world. We are never ready to click the submit or send button, we always want to tweak and rewrite a little more. I’m never 100% sure my book is ready 😦

  54. I’m in agreement. They’re ready when they’re ready to be let go. Kind of like the mother bird pushing the baby bird out of its nest. And in my case, after much coddling first.

  55. I find it really hard making the decision, because every time I read through, there are more things I want to change. It’s agonizing!

  56. I’m guilty of chronic over-editing. As soon as a manuscript is ready to submit, either I’ll find a problem, or my copy editor will, or an agent will say something that inspires another rewrite. Groan. It drives me crazy!

    I have to get better at letting go.

  57. You’re absolutely right that we grow and change as writers. (Looking at my past work would freak me out too!) Yes, thinking “This is my best work yet” is definitely the sign to let your baby go.

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