I should be writing at this very moment—I'm under ten horrid deadlines today—but I just finished one project and I'm moving to another, so I needed a break from writing ... by writing. Go figure.
I want to talk about being ready. I'm not sure I understood what it meant to "be ready" until fairly recently. I'm an impatient guy—I've been known to query novels that aren't even close to finished yet. So in all this hustling and bustling, I never really stopped to ask myself if I was ready to go out into the world, just me and my little books, and go find a publisher. It seemed like a stupid question. Duh. Of course I was ready ...
But being ready as a person—impatient, driven, anxious, hopeful—is a very different thing than being ready as a writer. And I'm afraid somewhere along the way, I confused the two. I was awful close, perhaps, but if I'm being super-honest (which is easier said than done sometimes), I think I started to know about a year ago, maybe two, that I was almost there, but not quite. There were still things needing attention in my books.
This is a hard thing to accept, and I totally respect those writers who say, "I'm working at it, but I'm not ready to send out this book yet." Or, "I'm not going to send out this book at all. It's my practice book."
So I'm working on a book now—and this is a struggle—but every time I start to think about whether or not I can sell this book, I snip that thought like an evil little weed. Every time I start to wonder if it's pitched at the right age group, at the right length, if it's funny enough or deep enough, or whatever, I stop. Those are the thoughts of a writer who is distracted by the market, by the dream, not the thoughts of a writer who is only focused on the book.