I've given up, and believe me, it's about time. I've given up on mediocrity and on sending off manuscripts that feel "good enough." Good enough rarely is.
Reading the story out loud helped make this a reality.
Before I'd write a story. Then I'd rewrite it, or at least give it a good editing, because that's what you're supposed to do. Maybe I'd touch it up when I formatted the document to match the particular editor's submission guidelines. Most likely though I'd send it off and just hope for the best.
That's probably one of the reasons the rejection letters far outweighed the acceptance ones.
It finally occurred to me that if I'm really going to pursue writing, I need to do it correctly. And that means properly rewriting my work.
I finished my latest short story about an hour ago. To date it may be the one I'm most proud of. In the past I'd finish one and send it off when I could say, "That's not too bad." This time I reworked it until I could say "I like this."
Here's what happened. I wrote it. Then I wrote reworked it into a second, more polished draft. That's where I've usually stopped in the past. I read through it again and improved it, and almost fell to the temptation of thinking it was finished.
I just wasn't that happy with it, and wasn't sure why though. So I tried something that I've heard some writers do. I read the story out loud.
Immediately, the parts that weren't working jumped out. They practically attacked me. What was hidden before now seemed obvious. Some of the mistakes were with repeated words. Some were clumsy sentences, which I'd already trimmed but still didn't work. Some were embarrassing errors that likely would have sent my story to the rejected pile. That's where it would have belonged.
I've never been able to bother with reading my work out loud before. At least this time it made a world of difference. Hopefully enough to garner a sale.