This week is the last time our critique group is meeting before nano. As a rule we don't keep up with the critiques during nano because there's really not enough time for all of us to complete our nano goals and try to keep up with critique group.
I have mixed feelings about this. While I have a bit of a break -- not having to worry about getting the critiques done, or even what I'm going to submit -- at the same time, those critique groups helped my writing more than anything I've ever done. I've learned about my own writing more from hearing what other people have to say about it than while writing any of the multiple novels that I've managed to complete the first draft of.
That being said, sometimes I feel like I'm a little stuck. I'm going through a routine of writing in November (or during camp nano) submitting to critique group, and possibly getting to a second draft, but I never seem to get any further than that.
I want, more than anything, to be a published author. I want my name to be printed on the cover of a book. I want to be able to walk in to Chapters and find my books alongside my favourite authors. I want a complete stranger to read my books because someone recommended it to them.
So how can I do that when I can't even get to a third draft?
In order to get published, I have to submit my manuscript to someone. As I want an agent, it would be to the agents I would love to have as my own. Before I can submit, I have to actually like my manuscript. Which is probably only going to happen after I get feedback from my betas. In order to get feedback, I have to send out my manuscript to my betas. And to send it out, I really have to get it to the third draft.
Of course, I had a goal. I wanted to finish my third draft of Pandora by the end of this month. I managed to finish the second draft at the very beginning of the month, and I thought that I might actually get done this third draft in order to send it out.
I haven't. I'm not even done going through it to see what changes I still need to make. I'm about halfway through reading it and I don't foresee myself actually making it through the entire manuscript before November gets underway. I'm not even entirely sure I'm going to be able to finish the list of changes before then.
It's a disappointment. I want to have it ready for submissions by January, but it is what it is. I can accept that I didn't get as much done as I wanted. I think I took on too much this month anyway, so I'll get by.
What I won't be able to forgive myself for is if I don't get this manuscript done and sent in to an agent. This is probably the best book I've written to date, and I just can't wait to see what other people think of it.
My critique group is filled with amazing writers that have given me great insight in to my work. And if I never go any further with it, what am I saying about them? About the time they've invested in to my novel? I can't do that to them any more than I could do that to myself.
So while I may not finish my editing quite as quickly as I had hoped, I'm going to finish the third draft, I'm going to get it out to betas, and I'm going to find an agent for it. No matter how long it takes.
Are you a part of a critique group? Have they helped you as much as mine has?