So one of the things that happened in this last year — as I got sucked into the vortex of my teenagers’ complicated lives — was that my writing clunked to the ground and has been left there, in the dust, for nearly a year. No edits. No rewrites. No new books. No new stories. I haven’t even continued to send the one finished manuscript out to a single agent. It’s just sitting there, in my hard drive. (Next to the one I haven’t finished yet. Next to the seven other books that I’ve started with ideas.)
And they’re all very, very dusty. …
My critique partner – who usually keeps me on my toes about these things – was also having a very stressful year, filled with long to-do lists and late nights, so we were mostly encouraging each other to “hang in there” since 2010. No edits. No rewrites. No new books. Just get from Sunday to Sunday with your family intact and your laundry done and your bills paid and your kids/inlaws/etc healthy. That was our primary focus.
So, come July or so, both of us suddenly looked up and realized we hadn’t written a thing in much too long. And I couldn’t even remember where I’d left off in the Book I Never Finished or the Book I Need To Send to Agents. I had “cleaned up my files” but I couldn’t remember where anything was. I had notes scribbled all over Post-Its and napkins about existing books, future books, story ideas, agent ideas – everything was all over the place.
It was a bit crazy.
So first order of business was to clean my desk! All papers got shuffled into appropriate story folders. Then the next order of business was to make a list! My critique partner and I are big on lists. We had to list what we wanted to do, what we should do, and the order we should do them. Here’s my list of things I need to do:
- Make sure the first book – Earning Wings – is truly finished. (I’ve been wanting to rewrite that beginning for nearly 2 years – maybe the first 5 pages at least.) Then write a query letter to send out (sort of done — I took a class on how to do this), then write a 5- to 10-page synopsis (I do have a draft done), and then start sending it out again to try to get it pubbed.
- Finish the Fin/Giselle surfer story. I do love that book, but it has no ending. I imagine it will take me 1-3 months to finish.
Here’s a list of things I want to do:
- Write one of the gazillion new characters floating in my head that want stories. (Yes! Shiny new thing! Distractions! New! Look over here!) I’ve got so many great premises, great heroes, interesting heroines … I just can’t figure out where to start, and I know I need to finish the tasks I have above. But … gosh, shiny and new!
- Write a Young Adult book. (Yes! Another distraction! Shinier and newer!) This one also has a timeliness element, though, since I currently have a teenage girl in my house who is a perfect consultant. I feel like I have exactly three years to make this one happen, and the clock’s a-tickin’. … Meanwhile, also pushing me in the direction of the YA community, my son sent my “How I Met Superman” story to a female friend in college, and apparently it made the rounds through the female college population, and my stats shot through the roof. (Thanks, girls!) He told me it made its way all through a Florida sorority house, too, and he got lots of nice emails saying they’d read any kind of follow-up or similarly YA book his mother wrote, so … hmmmm….
What to do, what to do?