I’ve got a novel I’ve been working on for a few years. Yeah, it’s the first novel I wrote. You know, the one that you show to family and a few friends and they love it, and you think by next year at the latest you’ll see this thing in print because ignorance is bliss and you know nothing about how publishing works. All you know is that you just wrote a freaking novel and you had a blast doing it.
Then you show it to a few writers and they congratulate you for finishing a novel.
Then they politely point out that should you choose to continue writing you’ve only just begun. Then you start to learn about the publishing industry and the few paths available to access it.
Maybe you’ve had this experience, maybe you haven’t. I’ve come back to my first novel a few times over the years. I love the premise and actually had a bunch of requests when I queried it, but I know it can be a double edged sword to engage with it now.
One little voice says: Just burn it and be done. Work on something new.
Another little voice says: Keep working on it. You know the premise is sound, and you’re drawn to it, and now that you’ve improved as a writer you just need to properly execute this sucker.
You’ve got friends, published authors who’ve sold earlier books, so why can’t you?
What do you do with your early attempts? Do you chuck them into the woodstove or dust them off and keep working on them?