Writing the Wrong Book

Okay, I know this can feel like a scary, touchy subject for writers to think about for long, but hear me out. I am *thisclose* to crossing the 25k word mark in this manuscript and I think it’s a fitting time to tell you that I wrote this book wrong at first. 

I wrote the whole thing. I revised it. I got feedback and it was nice, readers were enjoying it, they had thoughts, but ultimately nothing that was changing the way I was feeling about it which was…only okay. 

Here is the truth: We are never too good, smart or talented to write the wrong book first.

We might think we have to write it that way because on the surface it makes a whole lot of sense. Maybe we think it’s our brand, or we really WANT to write a certain kind of book because it’s something we like to read. Maybe we had an idea and we ran with it, but we were sprinting in the wrong direction for 70,000 words. 

And sometimes the book you wrote that was wrong, was good. Maybe even good enough. But not really truly YOU. 

The you component is what transforms a bunch of plot points into an unforgettable story. It’s what creates passion and unlocks imagination in a reader. It’s what actually makes the book “on brand” in the first place. 

I’m glad my agent could feel the lack of ME in the book and gently nudged me with her insight & great feedback toward the truth I wasn’t telling. Because the key to good story is getting to the honest truth. It’s dipping into the dark well inside you and finding the deep water hidden there. 

It’s okay to write the wrong book. And it sure feels good to bleed out the right one. 

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Weekly reminder that I work with writers at all levels & stages! You can check out my creative services right here on my website. 🦄

Encourage Growth: Working with a Book Coach

Years ago I was a new writer, a young mom, & recently relocated to Texas after two years in Brooklyn. It was a lot of fresh change and a lot of feeling like treading water waiting to be tugged under. And then I saw this tweet by Nova Ren Suma that she was offering an online Young Adult writing workshop & I leapt at the opportunity to get feedback from her – a writer with an agent & a book deal, a book on shelves. Someone doing the thing I wanted to do.

I was still a raw talent in a lot of ways. Rough edged & not always actually good, but I had written a book & I wanted it to be the best it could be. In that workshop, I learned a lot about what was working in my pages, what wasn’t. I made friends with other writers, one in particular — a fellow screenwriter and YA lover, who was about to move out to LA. (She’s since, in the many many years that have passed, become one of my best friends & the co-author of my dreams.)

But I also got a teacher in Nova, someone I would work with many more times, who would encourage the seeds of my writing to grow. When I started working with writers a few years ago, the one thing I knew I wanted was to help cultivate the dreams & raw talent in my clients. This industry often does a lot of breaking those dreams down, tearing words to shreds, belittling burgeoning artists still learning. Rejection comes with the game, fear and failure are a constant.

But encouragement & good critique & guidance makes space for growth.

Today, one of my coaching clients told me she wanted to work with me forever. And, of course, I beamed, but I also dreamed for her in that moment. I hope one day she’ll have an agent in her corner & she won’t need to work with me anymore.

Because I know the pain of wanting something that still feels out of reach, & I know the work it takes to get there, & even though I can’t make anyone’s dream come true (not even my dreams, of which I have many) I can be a voice of hope, an encourager of story seeds, & a promoter of doing the work even when it’s hard and you fail. If you’re looking for a book coach, an editor, or eyes on your query, I’m taking on clients now and always. ✨