Friday, March 22, 2013

Juggling Books: Act Two

It's hard to believe I started writing books eight years ago. Well, I've always been a writer, but I dabbled in poetry, wrote fan fiction before there was such a thing as fan fiction, dreamt about stories, made up stories, but in the end I never really sat down to write books until I was an adult.

My stats aren't necessarily reflected in My Books page in this blog spot. I have a couple of under the bed books, or "drawer books" that shall remain in the drawer. However, I'm just as proud of them as I am of the ones that I think have real potential to fly. Why? They taught me I could FINISH a book. Do you know how many people say they are going to write a book? Lots. Do you know how many people start those books? Not many. Do you know how many people finish the books they start? Even less.

Do you know how many people keep writing more books after their first "epic novels" are rejected once? A few brave souls.

So if you've finished a novel PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK. Well done. If you've picked yourself up off the floor after your first rejection and continued writing more books BREAK OUT THE BUBBLY. You're a winner in my eyes.

Now comes the tough part. Continuing to write and revise and LEARN YOUR CRAFT while you get ready for your big opportunity and get published. Oh, that leads me to continue to QUERY and SUBMIT. Yes. Query a lot. Submit wherever you can that makes sense for your genre and your career.

Most of all HAVE  PLAN. One cannot operate without a clear, flexible plan in place. I have one. Every year I sit down and make a list of attainable goals (okay getting a New York agent and/or editor to love my work is not completely in my hands, but I can take care of the writing and submitting part, then let it go).

Every quarter of the year, I review my plan. I revise my plan. I reset my goals. As I approach the end of this quarter year, I know I have to be very careful with my time and use it with clear focus. A lot of the places I want to submit to have different requirements than in the past.

I have nine fully written books. I have fleshed out three different continuing series book outlines and have pursued the writing of them during breaks from revising for requests and so on.  I have two new shiny stories to write with interesting characters and premises to flesh out. Seven of my books have pretty strong partials ready to whip out the door (a partial is the first three chapters along with a synopsis--though the synopsis requirement isn't always in the guidelines for submission). I have two strong full manuscripts to send out to the world. They are strong in that my most recent writing eyes, the eyes that have learned a lot of new things, are looking for deeper elements when I read through them. The rest are in the "polish to the best of my ability" stage.

Therein lies the caveat: polish to the best of my ability now. Because I've grown as a writer. What I thought was my "best" a year or two ago isn't my best of my ability now. All this leads to my current juggling act. I've got editors on the hook. I've got interest in my writing. I'm close. Oh. So. Close. Now I'm working on getting my missiles ready to launch by using the abilities I have strengthened within me as a writer and polishing, revising, and polishing again.

The goal? Four books ready to launch. I'm lining them up like rockets on a pad. Lighting the fire. Counting down the minutes until they lift off one-by-one toward the stars I've aligned them to shoot toward. But oh my, is it ever daunting. My head has been spinning with the various books I want to get ready. And I have those two shiny new stories that I want to write. I'm desperate to write them. I want to get to know these new characters, but I must hold back. I have to get my rockets ready to fly.

Yesterday, after polishing all day, I sat down and printed out my calendars for April and May. I also did weekly calendars. Then I marked off the days I know I will be unable to write at all. After that, I made a power plan for which books to work on and when I needed them to be at various stages of revision.

April is a weird month. May is even stranger. Life is happening. Lot's going on: travel, medical stuff for me and the College Kid, and a major contest to coordinate for my Southern Magic writing chapter. But no matter what I've volunteered to do, my writing will always come first. So my schedule has to change to reflect that maxim as well. My blogging has become more sporadic as of late due to the focus on the books, but I still love to pop in and blog because it frees my creative soul. Plus, I love celebrating my debut author friends when they release their first books. Who doesn't love a party?

But in the meantime, just making a plan released me from juggling anxiety. I know I can do this if I remain focused. I know that I may have to readjust my plan should an event pop up that I have no control over (like tornadoes, illness, etc.). But I know that this year the hard work will pay off. I will take charge and make something happen. But I will do it smart. I will do it with clear intention. And I will continue to make something of my writing career because my focus is and always will be writing and revising books to the best of my ability.

What's on your writing docket?


angela britnell said...

Keep up the juggling act! It's the persistent ones who succeed in the end. I'm working on the third draft of a new novel, waiting for edits on my upcoming July release and doing publicity for the contest I just won which will mean I book out next year with a new publisher. Plus family stuff including addressing 200 wedding invitations!

Christine said...

I think learning how to juggle as much as I can NOW is important after reading your comment!! Life will happen and I know you are busy with the wedding (congratulations!), bu the writing will always require flexibility.

Thanks for popping in and sharing!


Patricia Bradley said...

Oh, Christine! I needed this post. Today. Your calendar idea is just perfect.

So proud of you. Four books ready to go. Awesome. Praying favor with editors for you.

Christine said...

Hi Patricia: Thanks for popping in! I love making calendars. They do help me keep my focus. Of course, I occasionally do chase squirrels down rabbit holes, but that's okay. For the most part I accomplish what I set out to do. Good luck to you with all your writing and reaching your goals.


Romance Author Missy Lyons said...

Just keep swimming! Loved your blog post. It's great to be organized and persistence does pay off. Eventually.

Christine said...

Thanks so much Missy!! I love that line :-) I will keep swimming. And one day it will pay off.

Happy Writing and so glad you enjoyed the post!

life coach training said...

This is wonderful! I love the bit about hoping. That's the thing that really got me to make my final decision to sign with my agent; she had this amazing optimism just leaking out of her pores when she called to offer representation.