I just got the notes on my second manuscript back from Maz, my favorite test reader (she's my fave cause she says nice things without asking for a bribe). I'm 40,000 words into my third book, so I'd forgotten all about that last one. It was amazing, flicking through 300 pages that I barely remembered writing (it's not because I was Hemingway-intoxicated the whole time, I simply tend to focus on the present and forget the past until it makes an appearance).
Maz said, we (can't forget to mention my co-writer husband) had "gained much more confidence as writers.... The writing felt freer and flowed a bit more naturally. I also got the sense you were having more fun with the whole process." A reader can see all that in a book? Yikes! It feels like my soul really is laid bare, and I'm beginning to understand J.D. Salinger's desire to hide his manuscripts in a cupboard somewhere.
That last manuscript was tons of fun to write, with a sassy heroine uncovering a mystery in a fantasy setting of my own devising. It makes me worry a bit about my current WIP, though. I've tried to push myself further, and sometimes I'm nervous about being able to meet my own expectations. I hope that won't translate into writing that makes it seem I'm trying too hard? I don't want the prose to feel forced, but I want to do the best I can to achieve that gleaming vision of the perfect book I see in my head.
When someone gets published (I don't like to say 'if'), they've often written five or six books before that. Or so I've read. Of course, there are some lucky people that make it their first time out. I'm beginning to think it's all about confidence and finding your voice as a writer. Some do that quicker than others.
How about you? How many manuscripts do you have stashed away? How many did it take you to get published? If you're unpublished, like me, have you found your voice yet? Do you feel confident and does that come out in your prose?