Sunday, March 22, 2009

What Now?

If you're like me you set daily, weekly or even yearly writing goals. At the beginning of each year, I usually say, "This year I'm going to finish all the half-started books on my hard drive and find them a home." - I did that again this year, with a tiny caveat. "I'm going to finish some categoy length books to submit to Harlequin and Silhouette." - Well, things have been going along swimmingly. The romantic suspense I've been writing to target at Silhouette is gelling quite nicely and I'm getting the work done pretty quickly. I figure, I'll be ready to submit it by summertime.

Not so fast, lady.

BAM...out of nowhere, a friend of mine who works as a distance reader for an agent says she can get me a read through of one of my dark paranormals for an agent in her office who is HUNGRY for them. Um...yeah. That's great. The only problem is, I've been working on other novels lately, and haven't really been working on any dark paranormals that could go to an agent - the one I'm working on currently is a sequel for my editor. The good news is I do have a dark paranormal outlined and three chapters completed. I mentioned this to my friend thinking the agent wanted something immediately. Well, she wants to see my three months.

Begin panic-mode sequence.

Yes, I'm a fast writer, but damn, this is ridiculous. I have so many other projects that need my attention. So, I quickly rearrange my WIPs pile and pull out my dark paranormal Allegory to begin reworking it and getting back into it. - That's when I get an email from an editor I have a romantic suspense submission with. The book just so happens to be the first of a five part series about a government agency who protects and acquires artifacts. The editor wants to know both my real name and when the second book will be done. - Um...I have it outlined. So, I sent the information and a possible completion date. That was two days ago, I haven't heard back yet. Now, I'm worried. Do I need to rearrange my completion calendar again? Meanwhile the sequel I've been working on for my editor is getting pushed farther and farther back on my WIPs list. - Strike while the iron is hot, says she. I'm trying to, but the characters are giving me fits, and the plot is incohesive.

I see my plans falling apart around me. Now, each time I sit down to write I stare at the screen because I really don't know what I'm supposed to be working on. But let's talley it up, shall we.

1. Dark paranormal for an agent - 6K/100K completed - with a three month deadline looming.

2. Dark paranormal for editor - 32K/90K completed - due before summer, so...three months?

3. Romantic Suspense for editor - 0K/70K - due date unknown.

Well, I'm not exactly sitting in a corner and drooling yet, but I think I'm getting close.

And here you all thought I was together and organized.



Carrie said...

Hi Kate,

This comes from someone who seems to function well under a looming deadline, for most things.

I'm a conceptual thinker, so I think about what I want to write before I write it, I play with the words, to see what direction they're going to go, etc. I do that with almost everything I write, so it may seem to people that I am procrastinating about it, but I'm not.

The thing is, the direction isn't always clear until some time later, even with academic projects such as the literary reviews and papers analyzing classic works of literature. Basically, by the time I sit down to write, I know exactly where I am going with the material I am writing.

Most of the time, this means that I am finishing my work close to the deadlines. There are times when I am about half to 3/4's finished, I find that the direction I took is the wrong one or that the organization needs reworking - which puts a crimp in the whole mess. As a result, I end up working right up until the actual submission deadline because inevitably I needed to add more information or do more/better research.

So, I know what you're feeling. You feel pulled in so many different directions that you're brain has shut down.

Here's my suggestion for you:

1. Take a deep breath and step away from your computer. You've got some time, so do something fun with your family (spouse/kids) and/or friends that you know will recharge your soul. When your soul is recharged, your brain will reboot, because by then you will have a direction to focus on.

2. I would rethink your order of priorities because you know that the second book on your list is guaranteed to be printed, right? You also have more accomplished on that one, so go back to it and continue it because it is fresher in your mind. Then when, after you've entered enough of that story and need a break from it (or inspiration so brilliant strikes that it's hampering your progress and you need to write it down to clear your focus again), go to work on the book for the agent.

3. Don't think about your proposal for at least two weeks because it can take people that long to go through it, decide if it's what they want, etc. Then, if you haven't heard anything, call your contact for an update.

If I was in your position, feeling overwhelmed, that's what I'd do.

Hope this helps and congrats on and good luck with your success.

Carrie from Wisconsin

Sierra Wolfe said...

Hugs, Kate! You are such a fabulous writer, everyone wants some of ya! First, congrats on that. Second, take a deep breath and remember, you can do this! Third, if you need any help brainstorming or anything else, you know how to reach me. Good luck!

MJFredrick said...

Eek!!!! That is stressful! I've rearranged my completion calendar a bunch so far this year, but I'm scared of stressing myself like that. Good luck!

Kim Rees / Kim Knox said...

Eeep, Kate. Good Luck!

Alisha Paige said...

Whew! I know how you feel. Just prioritize and focus on the project at hand. My schedule sounds very much like yours. I'm in the last leg of edits for one book, on a two week deadline for another and have a series that's nagging my brain for me to finish..and I have three kids...two very little ones...a four year old and a 15 month old so sometimes I have to decide whether to mop the floors, take the baby on a stroll or write...ha ha. It's such a juggling act. Decide what's most important..get all your ducks in a row and write, girl! Good luck!


Mark Alders said...

I hear you, Kate. I hear you.

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