Don’t Worry, Just Write!

Danica Favorite is a Love Inspired author who has spent her life in love with good books. Never did she imagine that the people who took her to far away places would someday be the same folks she now calls friends. A mountain girl at heart, she lives in the Denver area with her husband, children, a pesky dog, and a slew of chickens. Put it all together, and you find an adventurous writer who likes to explore what it means to be human and follow people on the journey to happily ever after.

By Danica Favorite

When I first started trying to write for Harlequin, I was so nervous about every little thing I did or didn’t do. Even with those first contracts, I kept worrying, what if I really mess it up?

And here I am, working on book number twenty for Love Inspired. I guess I haven’t messed it up too badly.

As I’ve been spending more time working on a mindfulness practice, I’ve learned to put things into perspective. When I look at the number of mistakes I’ve made over the years and added them all up, what do they amount to? A lot. But guess what? I’m still here. And I’m still writing.

Which leads to something I want to share with all of the aspiring authors and current authors who are doubting themselves. I see a lot of authors asking questions like, “Can I include this detail, or is that detail okay?”

Stop worrying about minute details!

Ninety percent of these things will not affect whether or not Harlequin buys your book. They will simply ask you to change it when it goes to the copyediting stage after it’s been contracted. I promise, most of what people are worried about does not affect the editor’s decision.

As an example, in every copyedit I get, I will get a comment from my editor along the lines of, “You know you can’t do this in LI.” Oops. I change it, and it’s no big deal. Granted, it’s nothing integral to the plot, usually just an accidental bad word. I even have a list of things I should not say, and I look for them before I send anything, and one word always slips by. Even after twenty books, my editor has not said, “Okay, I’ve had it with you not remembering this small thing, so you’re done.” The good news is, she’s never going to say that. The thing my editor cares about is whether or not I’m writing a good story, and those accidental bad words are easily fixed.

When you’re tempted to ask if a detail is okay or not, just write it anyway if it feels right for the story. When an editor is reviewing your story to decide to buy it or not, they’re looking at things like: Does the plot make sense? Is the romantic conflict compelling enough? Does the book overall fit the line? They’re not going through the story with a red pen, looking for tiny mistakes as reason to reject your book. They’re looking for a story they can fall in love with, knowing that everything else is fixable. Most of what I see aspiring authors worrying about are these little things that don’t affect your chances of being published.

If you need further assurance that the editors aren’t hovering over your manuscript, I encourage you to read this blog post called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.

Today, I want to encourage you to just write. Write the story on your heart, and don’t worry about the details and whether or not Harlequin allows it. We spend so much time worrying about those little things that we lose the bigger picture of the story itself. The story is what matters.

Don’t lose the forest for the trees. Focus on writing a compelling story and the details will take care of themselves.

Be sure to check out Danica’s next book, Journey to Forgiveness, coming this fall from Love Inspired!