When Are Your Darlings Ready to Fly?
When they’re old enough.
Spring is here, and birds will soon fill the skies. But is your little darling ready to push off that tree limb? Ready to lift their wings up, up, and back, exposing their hearts to the arrows? Yes. Arrows. Let’s do a pre-flight checklist.
Are all systems GO?
Many years ago, I wrote a sci-fi novella that was read and praised by friends and family (but not by a brutally honest critique group or a non-biased person who would have asked the right questions, the hard questions I needed to answer). It was passed by a Beta Reader, but not one well-read in sci-fi/fantasy. Finally, it had not been exposed to a line-edit or a developmental edit. I discovered, after the fact, there were places where the feathers hadn’t quite grown out just yet – even some basic things like adequate research, POV, consistency in character development. For instance, I tended to head-hop, and I didn’t realize it! Since I prefer omniscient points of view, I wasn’t as careful as I should have been when it came to whose head I was in!
Do you have a FLIGHT PLAN?
Being in a hurry to see it airborne, I put my little fledgling out on Amazon before I researched the company that helped me to do so (and charged me a great deal of money for the privilege). Again, this was several years before I discovered like-minded birds of a feather who flocked together every Thursday night—not only to critique one another’s work, but to exchange information on publishing options and articles/books/webinars to hone our craft. When I pushed my novella off the branch, I had no idea where it would go. I remember laughingly calling it “a learning experience.” It turned out to be not so funny. Know where you’re going and how to get there!
Can your fledgling make it back to the nest (i.e., what’s next?)
Now that we’ve survived the rise of the self-publishing robots vs tradition publishers and are accustomed to being buffeted about by the winds of change, we are told to have a platform. Imagine. Introverted artists being told to “put yourself out there,” like it’s the most natural thing there is. Duh. Like the majority of writers, I have great difficulty in that area, and tend to stay away from social media. However, I have left the safety of the nest (when forced to forage for food) and now have two websites and a presence on facebook. I even blog. Been there, done that. Whew.
It’s a cold, cold world.
And in order to survive, we have to stick together. Sometimes I hum the first three lines of an old Leonard Cohen song, “Bird On A Wire” (like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried…in my way…to be free), which brings me to my saving graces, my critique group and writers’ groups. Have you ever watched birds flying south for the winter, how they’ll lift off individually from tree after tree to join the others and form a perfect pattern? Writers need other, like-minded writers so we don’t get stranded for the winter. If you haven’t already, find a group. If the first one doesn’t click, find another. Form your own. Go online for groups in your area. Sure, it looks good on a bio, but more importantly, you hone your craft. And that’s what it’s all about.