Was talking to S the other day who said they (the infamous “they” again!) were telling a writing class that their first screenplay (in this case) would be bad. I’ve heard the same warning to new authors too, as if they should toss their first book. Sometimes it’s true. Sometimes it’s not. And what if you only have or choose to have one book or screenplay in you? Are you screwed? How do you know when it’s good?
What I’d say to new writers is that your first work won’t be a great as you initially think it is. Plenty of us think we’ve written a classic for the ages in that giddy time of finally finishing. That feeling doesn’t last. And then I’d tell them to put it away for a much longer cooling off period than they were planning. 2 weeks is not long enough for most people, especially when they are new to the process. Put it away for months: 2-6 months. Yes, really. Patience is essential to a long career. Next, get a professional set of eyes to read it over. Not your family (unless they are pros), not friends. Pay for it from a reputable source if you can afford it; trade for it if you can’t. Finally, get to work on the next book. Getting immersed in the next project takes a load of pressure off the last one. Agent rejections will still sting, but not as acutely if you’re exciting about a new work. Also, you will have that much more to be published when you finally do break through.
Well, what are you waiting for? Happy writing.