Monday, 25 April 2016

Making decisions

How do you make decisions? Do you weigh up the pros and cons? Or flip a coin? Or agonise back and forth until you've forgotten what the question was?

What if there's no correct answer?

I have a very clear idea where I want to be, career-wise, but the path I travel to get there is a very windy (as in twisty, not breezy) road. It's full of decisions I don't want to make.

Today, I sent off a short story to a competition, then wondered if I should send it to another one as well. But I don't know, so I haven't yet. Is the story good enough to warrant two entry fees at the same time?

A couple of days ago I was considering some severe editorial changes to a novella. If I make the changes, there's a good chance a publisher would take it. If I stick to my vision of the story, that market would disappear but another might open up. I don't know, so I haven't done anything yet.

I have a novel that I'm querying, but I'm running out of agent options. Should I go small? Should I self-pub? Is it even any good? Should I shred it into a million pieces and throw it like confetti onto some unsuspecting bride at my local church?

See... far too many decisions and questions, and I don't know how to answer any of them.


Does anyone actually have answers, or are you all floundering around and getting lucky too?



40 comments:

  1. Big decisions. I'm a pretty rational person. I go through a list of pros and cons, do my research, ask opinions. And if that doesn't work, just go with your gut! Good luck. :)

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    1. I've never successfully completed a pros and cons list - I always get side-tracked, or bored :-) I wish I was more rational.

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  2. Big decision. This is what I would do: Don't pay to enter a second comp before you've heard back about the first, unless you are able to pull out of one or the other when successful. I would ask someone else to read your novel as is to get some feedback. I would probably have a crack at the alterations too to see if I liked the end result. If not, stick to the original. It's not a waste of time because all writing is of value and it's great practice. Novel: I would get someone to read the opening chapters and give critique. If this has already been done then keep on querying. It depends on your stamina as to how many you query. I gave up on relying on others to direct my destiny so I'm going to self-publish. So much support and help out there. But that's just me :) DON'T GIVE UP on any of the projects and don't make too many decisions at one time. Have a great week and keep us posted.

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    1. Thanks for such a considered response, Nicola. Both comps allow simultaneous submissions and to pull the story out. People have read the novel, but in my low moments I just assume they've all just been very kind.

      I always wonder when the best time to give up querying is - the next one might be THE one.

      Not making too many decisions is probably the best advice of all. Thank you!

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  3. Floundering here, too.

    I read once about how when/if you flip a coin, notice how you react to the heads/tails. Are you happy with the result or no? That tells you something right there.

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    1. Yes, I've heard that about the coin flip too. It makes a lot of sense. Quick, let's find some coins :-) Hope you stop floundering soon.

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    2. Yes, I've heard that about the coin flip too. It makes a lot of sense. Quick, let's find some coins :-) Hope you stop floundering soon.

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    3. Yes, I've heard that about the coin flip too. It makes a lot of sense. Quick, let's find some coins :-) Hope you stop floundering soon.

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  4. Sometimes I don't spend enough time thinking about it and I just plow forward.

    What if you did enter both contests? And won? What a wonderful problem that would be.

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    1. One announces before the other - if I win one, I have to withdraw from the other. I think there's a fine balance between thinking too hard and not enough - maybe not enough is the more preferable of the two. I could still be thinking about these choices next year, if I'm not careful :-)

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  5. I'm floundering, too, but I can't say that I'm ever getting lucky. I often just get paralyzed with indecision, and end up doing nothing at all.

    And seriously, if you wrote the novel, I'm sure it's very good.

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    1. Oh M.J. thank you for your confidence in me :-) Getting lucky to me means getting books out there in the way that fits you best, so I think you have!

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  6. I'm a flounderer and a second-guesser. I no sooner make a decision than I know I've made the wrong one.

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  7. Hi Annalisa - we can't wait for no man - so I'd say get on with something ... make some severe changes to your novella - and see what happens - you've got the original .. so can always revert. Submit a new story ... keep writing keep submitting ... but action is the key - better to have tried ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Action is definitely the key... Now, which action to take...? :-) I'm going to look at my novella again tomorrow - I'm going to be without electricity, so it's the hard copy, a pen and me!

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  8. I'm in the floundering stage right now. LOL
    Tomorrow I'll make a decision, I'm sure, but today, nope, not going to happen.
    You know sometimes I just know the answer, and then there are days where nothing fits. Wait until tomorrow! :)

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    1. I actually find that too. Some times, I even - sssh, don't tell anyone - start to read horoscopes for inspiration...!

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    2. I actually find that too. Some times, I even - sssh, don't tell anyone - start to read horoscopes for inspiration...!

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  9. I'm such a careful planner it can take me a while to make a decision. Sometimes it's better to just do.

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    1. I think a mix of the two works well, depending on what needs to be decided :-)

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  10. Hmm I think if the entry fee isn't that high, just go for it! If you think your story is good enough for one, then it's good enough for the other!
    I worry about having to make the decision to self publish but I have to finish writing the book first before I start really thinking about that!

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    1. I've got another two days to make the short story decision. I might just go for it. The self-publishing decision is a hard one, though. Good luck making it.

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  11. I basically decide what it is I want out of it all. So, do you want to enter two competitions? If so, go for it. If you want to be traditionally published, you have to keep at it. I queried for 4 years before deciding to go Indie. If you simply want to publish your book and stick to your own idea, then going the self-published (indie author) route could work out. But it is all about what you really want. If you really want to do something, but your fears are holding you back, definitely chase your dream. Don't let anything or anyone hold you back. Good-luck.

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    1. I want it all, Murees! Mostly, when I sit down, my head goes round and round the same arguments. I'll figure it out, one thing at a time. Thank you!

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  12. there are always more questions than answers. hence often we are reckless rather than logical while taking decisions.

    http://www.obliqview.blogspot.in

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    1. You're so right. With every answer, I create new questions!

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  13. Our lives sound very much alike that in regard. Decisions can cause so many headaches. I give myself this though, I'm so unknown at the moment that any of these decisions are ok. If I get more known, that's when the pressure starts. :)

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  14. Decisions decisions. I take chances and follow the fickle finger of fate!

    My A-Z story features 4 neglected W words

    My friend Rosey has had a go too - Wobbly Wosey!

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    1. If I follow my fingers, they'll pick up chocolate and I'll eat it :-) Although, I guess that's a decision, right there :-)

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  15. I thought I'd responded to this, but maybe it didn't go through. I think the early responses gave excellent answers and there's no wrong way. Sometimes, think things through. Other times - just go for it. It all seems to be working for you pretty well right now.....don't overthink

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    1. Good advice, and thanks. I'm glad it looks like I know what I'm doing :-)

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  16. I pray and then flip a coin. Works like a charm.

    *Tearing it up is not the answer. I can assure you, it's good. Never doubt yourself!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I'm still hoping a psychic will pop up and tell me exactly how to get from here to there, but I suspect that might not happen this week :-)

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  17. Hello, Annalisa! Decision-making is always very hard for me. Always has been. Particularly when a difficult or important decision is involved. I tend go back and forth dozens of times :)

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    1. There are times when no answer seems to be the right one, aren't there? I wish it would get easier, though!

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  18. Decisions. Yuck.
    I try to appeal to my logical side and weigh the risks, but in the end I go with whatever makes my stomach hurt less to think about.

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    1. Oh yes, that gouging pain definitely lets you know if you're making the wrong decision!

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Please comment - I love a good chat!