View Full Version : Waiting to publish until you're "ready"?

12-14-2006, 05:44 PM
I have had two mentors tell me that you should wait until you truly develop your style before you begin publishing. This seems like sound advice, but I'm finding that the current trend is leaning more towards publishing as often as you can as early as you can. Do you think waiting until you've achieved your style is an outdated idea or do you think it's still worthwhile advice?

12-14-2006, 08:38 PM
I don't think that style is something you can really assess in yourself--any more than, when you look in a mirror, you can see yourself as others see you. Style is something that's assessed from the outside, by other people. It's something that's probably present in even your earliest writing; it's also something that develops over a lifetime.

Obviously you need to know what you want to write. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses, and be aware of what interests you and what approaches challenge you. But that isn't quite the same thing as style--any more than walking is the same thing as gait. Nor is it something that necessarily remains static. Writers change. Sometimes they change a lot.

It's hard enough to know whether a piece of writing works or not. Don't worry about style. Worry about producing the best manuscript you're capable of producing at the particular moment when you're producing it. Style will take care of itself.

- Victoria

12-14-2006, 08:51 PM
I think that when it comes to novels, it is sound advice to write several before you attempt to publish; if only to allow yourself time to grow. Your second, third and fourth novels will likely be better than your first, but to wait until you've achieved some level of 'style' is silly. You'll constantly grow as a writer as long as you continue writing.

But short stories...now that's a different animal. I'm holding back submission with my novels until I reach the point where I think I'm ready, but I'll sling short stories all over the place, hoping that some will stick.

Submit when you're ready. I'm thinking that your mentors don't believe you're quite ready yet, and they may be right; I don't know.

12-14-2006, 09:37 PM
If something is publishable, why would you not publish it?

12-14-2006, 09:41 PM
I think any writer's style will probably continue to evolve as he or she continues to write. I don't think you reach a certain point and suddenly your "style" is set.

Kate Thornton
12-14-2006, 09:44 PM
Your style doesn't work like your bones and stop growing or developing at a certain time/age/spot in your temporal continuum.

If your work is good, publish it!

If it stinks, work some more to improve it.

12-14-2006, 10:15 PM
I have had two mentors tell me that you should wait until you truly develop your style before you begin publishing. Perhaps they meant, "find your own voice," as much as develop your style, i.e., if you're writing is generic and indistinguishable from hundreds of other new writers, maybe it was a tactful way of suggesting the value of writing more in order to improve.