You've been there, right? Someone asks a question or makes a comment about your writing, and you realize they don't get it. How writing a novel works. How agents work. How self-publishing works. How traditional publishing works. They just don't understand. That's part of why writers' communities are so great—they bring you together with people who have some shared experience and knowledge.
To be fair, some non-writers do get it and some writers don't get it all … yet. Another great thing about such communities—we can always learn more from each other.
Here are a few things where I sometimes hit the "never mind" wall with other people:
- A novel manuscript has to be complete before you try to sell it.
- Being complete doesn't mean it's done. Selling to a publisher doesn't mean it's done. There are rounds of edits yet to come.
- Working with an editor doesn't mean just cleaning up commas and typos. Not at first, and not for a long time.
- Revisions can be a messy, big, creative process. Big-picture stuff isn't just adding a word here and deleting one there.
- Traditional publishing is a REALLY LONG PROCESS.
- What query letters are. Why they're used. Anything about how agents work.
- To all my students: No, I will not sell you copies of my book at cost, nor will I give each of you one for free. Yes, it's because I'm mean. Same reason I give you homework.
How about you? What makes you run to your writer-friends because you know they'll understand?
R.C. Lewis teaches math to teenagers—sometimes in sign language, sometimes not—so whether she's a science geek or a bookworm depends on when you look. Her debut novel Stitching Snow is coming from Disney-Hyperion in Fall 2014. You can find R.C. on Twitter (@RC_Lewis) and at her website.