Thursday, July 18, 2013

Anything Is Possible

First, a quick note that Bestselling Author Kathie DeNosky (Harlequin Desire) is giving a workshop on Harlequin's website this week.  It's part of Camp Wannabe, created especially for those who aren't attending RWA's Conference in Atlanta.  Kathie's topic?  How to Plot Your Book the Easy Way.  Those participating are raving about it!    

Yes, it's true.  Anything is possible.  There's a catch, though.  It takes hard work and something else:  A goal to work toward.

I've been working on a new project, while waiting for word on a proposal I submitted a few months ago.  One of the things that bogs me down, when it comes to writing, is the waiting.  Write and write, then wait, and wait, and...  The waiting, not the writing, is the hardest part.  I tend to do little jobs during that waiting time.  Things like rearranging my office, sorting papers, playing spider solitaire, working on websites and wondering what else there was to do, besides waiting.  I'm smart enough to know that this downtime means getting out of the habit of writing.  When the muse goes into hiding, getting started again can be torture.  The muse refuses to be found.  This time I decided to try something to tempt the muse.

New Project, New Goal
Like most writers, I have old projects that I started and left behind.  I have projects that were rejected, some because they didn't "fit" the particular publishing line.  2+ weeks after I sent off that proposal, my determination to write during the waiting time hit big time.  I pulled out an old manuscript that didn't "fit" anywhere, and decided it was time to get to work on it, if only to lure the muse back to where she needed to be: On my shoulder, whispering that it was time to write.  Three chapters were already written (as per most full proposal length), the plot was there, so I knew where I was going.  On May 10, I started writing, beginning where I'd left off.  How long would it take to write nine more chapters?  I didn't know, but I wanted to give it a solid try with a rough draft, meaning no going back and tweaking, revising or rewriting.  Just moving forward.  By May 31, I'd written 200 pages.  I finished the epilogue (which hadn't been planned) on June 1.  Surprise!  I'd proven that if I seriously wrote most days (18 of the 21 days left in May), I could actually get a lot of writing done.

Another New Project?
With the rough draft finished, I thought, "Why not try it again with another?"  I took a day to look over an old proposal that I'd already tried reworking once before and decided the conflict was weak.  This new one needed some changes in those first three chapters that were already written, but it gained me 7 pages. I kept going.  By the end of the month, I'd finished almost four more chapters.  Then our local writing group's BIAW came up, and I set my goal at 40 for the eight days.  I wrote all but one day of those eight and ended up with 94 pages.  No, that's not a mistype.  94.  There was only one problem.  I'd planned on maybe 11 chapters, and I was now working on chapter 12, and there were more things to tell in the story.  Okay, 12 chapters would work.  Then it became 13.  I'm now working on the last scene of the book, the last of chapter 14.  I'll stand up and say that not everyone will write 20 pages or even 94 pages in a week, and that's okay.  I seriously doubt I'll repeat my all time high in this lifetime. ☺

Is this manuscript ready to publish?  Absolutely not!  It's rough.  I have the front of my notebook (story bible) covered in sticky notes.  But I know what needs to be done and where, and even how.  That "how" can be a real devil.

My work is cut out for me, but not now.  With an offer on a contract for those two submissions back in May, my attention must be focused on them.  Tonight, once that last 10 or so pages are written, I'll put the new 70,000+ words story aside.  Both manuscripts I've worked so diligently on to write will have a rest.  There's no deadline for them, but there are with book 9 and book 10 in the Desperation series.  I'll be wrapping that up, while another idea for a series simmers in the dark regions of my mind.  I'll take Friday (tomorrow) off, and start in Saturday on The Cowboy Meets His Match (that's a working title).  I won't be spending a lot of time trying to get back into the rhythm, because I haven't lost it.  This is not to say that I'll take a day or three or four break, here and there, until all is finished.  Life intrudes, and sometimes we simply need a break.  There's nothing wrong with taking a short one, then getting back to work.

Everybody needs a little time to do the things that they want to do and still do what needs to be done, whether it's a day job, being a mom or dad, or any other requirement.  Writers don't sleep, eat, and write only.  We're all human and need time to relax and do other things.  For writers, it can be a struggle to get back into writing again, after a long break.  Yes, it's tempting to take several weeks--a couple of months or more--to get away from writing.  After all, being chained to a desk isn't fun for anyone, even if it's doing something we love.  Train yourself to write on a regular basis and set goals.  You won't regret it.

By the way, there's a flip-side to this, too.  If the muse is whispering let's write and here's the perfect story in your ear, but you have other obligations, the frustration mounts.  Relax and adjust.  It's less painful.
Dreams seldom materialize on their own. -- Dian Fossey

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