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Letting go

LettingGoBalloonSometimes, we have to let go of our expectations. Of life, of others, and of ourselves.

Okay, well, we don’t have to, but we’ll probably be really unhappy…

I got a good reminder of this last week when I had a couple of trusted writer friends read my upcoming book. While they had good things to say, they also made some valid points about things that need to be fixed.

What? Now? But, but…this book is supposed to come out on May 13th. I already had it edited, got the cover designed, had the proofreader scheduled, and…well, everything.

But what’s more important, speed or quality? For me, there’s no question. Quality trumps speed.

So I had to let go of my plan and adjust my expectations. The book needs more work, simple as that.

I’m incredibly thankful to my (honest) friends for bringing the story’s issues to my attention. (Funny how you sometimes can’t see these things until someone points them out to you, and then you think, “Duh.”) I’d rather have it be my friends/beta readers than my paying readers!

To those of you who were looking forward to reading Blind Justice in May, thank you, I love you, and I’m sorry. I hope when you finally read it, you’ll think it was worth a few more months’ wait. I sincerely believe the book will be much stronger.

And I’ve learned something about myself. I will continue to strive for better books at a faster pace, but I need to honor my process and be true to my characters and their stories. There are authors out there who can produce a book every two to three months. I applaud them!

At this point in time, I’m not one of them.

I’m trying to let go of unrealistic expectations—both in my personal and professional life—and focus on creating the best books I can. I know that little spot at the base of my neck that carries all of my tension will thank me. 😉

Has anything forced you to let go of your expectations? Please share!


 

Photo credit: By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Apprentice Eric Cutright [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

21 Comments

  1. Reply

    Gwen: I’m proud of you to consider quality before quantity. I loved Blind Fury. Stick to your values and serve your friends ice cream and chocolate. Love your classes, girl.

    Sandra Masters McCart

  2. Reply

    The good news. It was your call and you made it. While “it is a process,” you’re in charge of that process. Personally, I think you’re ahead of the game by not letting production quotas or a calender decide between quality and quantity. Institutional deadlines are killers regardless of who are what creates them. You don’t want the crust on a great apple pie to hit the plate all soggy. 🙂

    • Reply

      LOL, Curtis. I love your apple pie metaphor. Somehow I had a feeling this post would bring you out of hiding, and it’s always worth the wait. 😉 Thank you. I had to remind myself that part of why I self-published was so that I could work on my own schedule and keep the joy in the work. I lost sight of that a bit in my excitement to get more books out there, but I’m back on track. Thanks!

  3. Reply

    Truly generous friends are the ones that want the best for us, not to flatter us. I have had a similar experience in having a book targeted for a date only to realize changes needed to be made that delayed publication. And, as you note, the earth does not fall away when we can’t keep our schedules as we’d like. Loved reading your post. Great attitude too.

  4. Reply

    I’ve had to adjust my plans for similar reasons. I hate letting folk (and myself) down but producing a shoddy product would be far worse.
    So congrats on making such a great choice and good luck with the changes. I’m sure it will be worth the wait. 🙂

  5. Reply

    Here’s to your courage, Gwen. I’ve been there, too, and was happy in the end with the book I ended up with, in spite of the delays.

  6. Reply

    This is one of the reasons why I’ve stuck to doing ebooks– not just because of the economics– but should I or my reader pals discover an error or misinterpretation (besides spelling, which can be tough if I forget to add my made up vocabulary into the software’s dictionary)- I know I can continuously re-edit (which has been kept to a minimum). But definitely go for quality of your story. It’s worth the extra time, despite our impatience to get published. Peace.

    • Reply

      loujenhaxmyor: I do like being able to fix typos after publication–and play with things like keywords, back cover copy, and cover art–but I’ll try to resist serious editing once I’ve hit publish. I am impatient to get this book out and finish the next one, but like you said, quality is worth the wait. Thanks!

  7. Reply

    This was a great, honest post. One thing I’m wondering is why your editor didn’t point out the problems that your friends were able to identify? Was it just a line edit?

    • Reply

      Upon further reflection, I think the editor is limited in how much change she can bring. The first round had a lot of great suggestions for making the story better, but she’s still working with the story *I* wrote. And she only gets so many rounds to do that (based on what I’ve paid for). So she helped me make what I had really good. But what I had written didn’t do the characters justice or take the story to its full potential. Not sure if that makes sense, but I think I was counting on the editor to do too much. My approach has changed for future books. 🙂

  8. Reply

    As a reader I think it’s important for an author to take the time to make the story right, otherwise we the readers will be disappointed. I have read books by some authors who have tried to push books out fast that weren’t ready and I became so disappointed that I didn’t even want to try the next book. I loved Blind Fury and can’t wait for the next one. Any idea on a new publication date? Wondering minds and all..lol

    • Reply

      Thanks, Adrienne! This move to Boston is eating up more of my writing time than I expected, but I’m hoping to have the next book out by late summer/early fall. 🙂

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