October 8, 2012

Writer's Remorse

Now you’ve done it.  You realize after the fact that you’ve submitted an article to a children’s magazine editor before it was ready.  Of course, at the time of submitting you thought it was perfect, oh so publishable.  So how did you discover the piece went out too soon?  Clue:  Several months have passed and you've yet to hear back from the editor.  

This prompts you to read your article again.  And then that’s when you discover the piece could have been better.  You feel lousy.  Paragraphs could have been constructed more sensibly.  The word choice could have been livelier.  As a whole, the writing could have been tighter.  But it’s out of your hands and now awaits an editor’s decision or at worst, has landed in the rejection pile.

At first, you might feel regret or even embarrassment.  But this is only a little stumble on the path of publication.  It happens.  Though you can’t change the situation, you can have a new outlook. 

Don’t give up on the manuscript.  Review the piece.  Ask yourself what can be improved.  You might need another reader to point out parts that need tweaking.  You may need to read the work aloud and edit places where the pacing is lost or where a reader might trip on the wording.  You may need to overhaul the beginning to hook your audience better.  Or, you may need to wrap up the conclusion with a tie-in to the opening paragraph.

While you await the editor's decision on your work, read more books, blogs, and articles on the craft of writing for children.  Afterward, you'll find that you have gained a different perspective.  This is because you’re growing as a writer.  So learn from your mistakes.  Dismiss your regrets and move on.  Consider this experience an opportunity to improve your writing skills.    

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