“One thing that I did start to do at this time was writing stories and sending them off to the magazines I so adored. This was the one thing in my life that I did without considering payment; all I wanted was the thrill of seeing my name in print. I ransacked my imagination for romantic tales of good-looking heroes and beautiful women and frequently stayed up writing late into the night, eating Cadbury’s chocolate sandwich biscuits (which, like all biscuits, tasted especially good after midnight) with Marina the guinea pig snuggled into the crook of my arm. I had some letters back from friendly enough editors, all saying that they liked my style, but that I was not quite right for their magazine, and perhaps I could send them something when my writing had matured? At the time, I felt rather stung by this, but a few months later, when I wrote a story that came right from my heart and onto the page, I realized how right they had been. But I am going too far ahead.”
Am I ready to write?
And like any good writer, I have no idea. I can certainly look back on my previous work and see how far I’ve come, but I haven’t the faintest idea of what I am capable of at this moment. It’s difficult to see one’s own writing for what it truly is when immersed in the process of it all. In this way, I’m a terrible judge of my own abilities.
How do writers then finally decide when their work is up to par? When will it be ready to publish? I don’t think writers ever really know for sure.
Really, writing is all about trial and error. You try, and when you err, you learn and try again. You can only edit a piece for so long before you start to destroy everything it once was, but at some point, you just have to be happy enough with your work to send it out for others to decide. When that point is…well that’s up to you.
Like the character in this book, you can only really know how ready your work is once someone else has looked at it. That means you have to buck up and send it, possibly get rejected, and then you either fix it or send it to someone else (some publishers might judge your readiness differently). All you can do is keep trying, keep writing, and don’t give up. That’s when you’ll be ready.