Monday, March 10, 2014

What's your problem?

My name is Rob, and I have a problem.

I like to write. That is not my problem.

I get excited about ideas I want to write about. And that, by itself, is not my problem.

But when I write something that I think is pretty awesome, I become like a four-year-old who just drew a picture.

That is my problem. Well, part of it.

example: Let's just say said four-year-old drew (in her view) a most excellent horse. She would be so excited and proud of it that she would run to mom or dad as soon as possible to show it off right?

That's me. That's my problem.

Sometimes I get so excited about what I'm working on, that I rush to a point where I try to query it too soon, or rush a query and don't slow down, and BAM! - I've burned a bridge.


If only there was a hidden force that would kick in right before I hit "send" that could punch me into caution mode. But there's not. (Although I'm sure Tom, Brooks and Daniel are working on that app as I write this.)

I'm not by nature a patient person. I've had to learn it.

I learned some patience when I owned my tree care company a few years back. In that business, whenever I got in a hurry, something bad happened.

example: One Saturday, I was removing a large branch over a house and wanted to finish before the Nebraska Cornhusker football game started. So I quickly tied two rigging ropes onto the branch (without double checking the knots) and cut it loose. As the branch fell, one of the knots slipped. The branch rolled and spun and as I watched the tip of the branch swing close to a house, the fat end of the branch swung back and smashed my foot into the tree - all while I was suspended on rope about fifteen feet off the ground. I broke several bones in my foot that day and learned a valuable lesson - several, in fact.
Be deliberate and check your knots!

Although you can't be killed or break any bones if you rush through your revisions or spit out a super fast query, you can kill your chances of earning representation. Do you really want to do that?

I can't un-break my foot just like I can't un-send all my poor, early query letters. But you know what? I'm learning.

In tree work, I had great incentive to slow down, and I used to tell my employees, "Before you fire up the saw, know what's going to happen when you cut that limb loose."

So, fellow writers, before you send that query and manuscript, make sure they are the best you can make them.


  1. I do the same thing. Were so eager to show off and to reach our goal. ..its very easy to get lost in that. Its why I try to find other outlets, like contests, critique forums. I want someone to love my work, and I definitely don't always get that but I'd rather other writers see the too-early-mistakes and tell me, than have a string of form rejections clue me in. Its a hard road and we tend to learn the hard way.

    *deep breath* patience.

    Great post :)

    1. Agreed. It is my biggest trap, and I must continue to remind myself to slow down, take a break and then read it again with fresh eyes and cp comments!

  2. Yep, that little four-year-old in me tends to get out of hand, and it's so hard to reel her back in. But you're right, it's better to sit back, take a break and go over it all again and again.

    1. Thanks for the comment, T! Continually reminding myself to "take a break and go over it all again." Take care - Rob