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– Myra On Writing –

Baby Steps
by: Myra Nour

Every writer starts the same – at step one. Like an infant, we must 1st learn to crawl, then take our 1st tentative steps – getting stronger as our confidence builds and each step become easier.

Hence, don’t feel bad when you look around at other writers and see that they have accomplished much more than you. Every published and aspiring writer started just as you will/have.

An easy way to learn how to “baby step”, is to set goals – both short and long term ones. Short term goals are broken into easily attainable steps: I will write one chapter a week; I will set a writing schedule and stick to it; I will use today to go over and correct mistakes in my chapter; I will attend one writer’s conference this year; I will join a writer’s group. You can see that these goals are realistic and reasonable, therefore within your power to follow.!

Succeeding in fulfilling long term goals takes more determination, motivation and “stick-to-it attitude”. Long term goals could include: I will finish my book in 6 months; I will send out query letters to agents; I will send queries to publishers; I will be accepted for publication one year after my manuscript is finished.

You can see from the examples, that often long term goals cannot be fulfilled as first stated, or need to be rewritten. You may become sick and it takes you a year to write the book instead of 6 months. It is often the case that it will take longer than a year after completion of your novel to get it accepted. It may take many queries before you find someone willing to read your manuscript (if at all).

Length of response from agents/publishers vary, but often are 1-3 months. If they require a “no simultaneous submission”, then you have to wait until you receive their answer before sending out the next query.

Once a publisher agrees to read your manuscript, it will be an indiscriminate length of time before you hear “yes or no” from them. Several authors reported a time period of 9 months to a year before they received an answer back; another lucky author received a response in 2 weeks.

© 1999 by Myra Nour

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