I recently finished writing a short story. That felt nice because, for the first time in a seemingly long time, I had a completed project. The last project I finished was Faebourne a year ago. This year has not been great for getting any writing done. I’ve moved house, done house renovations (which are ongoing), juggled three kids at three different schools + their multitude of activities, gone on one family vacation… But writing hasn’t really happened.
Thing is, I do have a number of projects in the pipeline. Stuff I’ve started but have yet to finish, edits for repubs. In fact, I have so many, I don’t know where to focus.
Ms. Fortune (the new K-Pro book)
Mortleigh (working title; a new Regency romance)
Hunting Victor Frankenstein (novella based on the pilot screenplay)
The Lost God (an AElit novel)
Tales from AElit (anthology of myths and stories about AElit)
Changers: The Great Divide
The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller (edit & repub)
The K-Pro (edit & repub)
People will say, “Work on the one you’re most excited about,” but I haven’t been excited about much of anything these days. Nor do I have any new idea lighting up the back of my brain and yearning to get out. It’s times like these I wonder if maybe I’m through being an author. If I can’t be excited about the work, if I have no stories and/or characters pushing to pour out of me…
Used to be, I’d lay in bed at night and, as I drifted off, characters and scenes would play through my head. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Some might say I should take a break, but this whole year has been one big break already.
Maybe I should try more short stories? If I can come up with any ideas for them. If I write enough of them, I can put out a new anthology at least. Not that I think people read anthologies anymore.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice? What should I work on, or how should I find my motivation? Do you have any tips and tricks for jumpstarting the muse?
I haven’t been writing much for a number of reasons, but I find myself taking out this or that old project, futzing with it, then abandoning it again. So I’ve decided to make myself a list of these WIP. Many are old and may never see the light of day. But it’d be nice if even a couple did.
“The Lost God” – this story (which may end up a novella) is the one I’ve been referencing on Twitter’s #WriterlyWIPChat, and it’s the one I keep coming back to most. An old piece based on my AElitian mythology.
Ms. Fortune – the K-Pro sequel
An adaptation of my Hunting Victor Frankenstein television pilot
An adaptation of my 20 August feature screenplay
Teaching Mina (title subject to change) – a new Regency romance
Changers 2, assuming anyone is still interested
Peter Stoller edit
“Certain Purpose” – another really old story that may be more like a novella
“Voodoo Lessons” – same as above
If I finish “Certain Purpose” and “Voodoo Lessons” I could maybe put them under one cover as a twofer. Then again, part of me says I should get another Regency romance out there since those are my best sellers. But in all, I’m just having trouble finding anything that really excites me. “The Lost God” comes closest, so I’ve mostly been chipping away at that.
Ideally I would release at least one, preferably more, book a year. But there have been gaps. This may be another gap year. I don’t know yet.
First off, sorry for being absent. I had surgery and now I’m in the throes of a house move. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing or blogging. And the truth is, I don’t feel much like writing these days. Despite having a number of projects on hand, nothing is speaking to me.
Or should I say no one is speaking to me?
I was trying to get to the bottom of why I’m not feeling the urge to write. In the past, I’ve had times when I don’t feel like writing, but the pressure builds up in me until I can’t not write. But this feels different. I’m oddly content, even though I’m not writing.
And I have all these WIP, filled with pretty solid stories and characters, but…
I like a lot of my current characters. But I don’t love them. And that, I’ve discovered, is what I really need in order to feel pushed to write. I have to be totally, head-over-heels in love with my characters. (Or at least one of them.) And right now I’m not. I’m the author equivalent of single.
So what I need is a new romance with someone fictional. Until I find him or her, though, it appears I won’t feel that drive to write. Oh, I could try to force it, but we all know that love really can’t be manufactured. That’s true in fiction as much as in real life.
Yesterday I wrote about everything I did and didn’t accomplish in 2018. Sure, there are still three weeks left in the year. More may yet happen! But this is usually the time of year when things slow down as people focus on the holidays, so I’m not pinning any expectations on it.
Instead, I’m looking ahead to 2019. What projects do I plan to focus on and what goals would I like to reach? I firmly believe in concrete, quantifiable goals. To say, “I want to sell a lot of books” is not helpful. To say, “I want to sell 1,000 books” is.
Here, then, are my goals for 2019:
Finish and publish Ms. Fortune
Finish the Hamlette rewrite
Make at least as much money as I did this year (or more!)
Attend at least one conference or convention, either as a guest speaker or with an author table
These all feel do-able. As I’m not a particularly fast writer, finishing two manuscripts is something of a stretch for me, but I’m going to try.
I have other, non-writing goals as well, such as losing those 15 pounds (20 would be even better). And I have things to look forward to in 2019—a family vacation to Disney World, for example.
So what about you? What are your goals for the coming year? What, if anything, are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!
The year is almost over, and my birthday is coming, which means it’s time for me to get introspective or retrospective or something.
Here’s what I accomplished this year:
Put Brynnde out as an audiobook
Finished and published Faebourne (in ebook & paperback formats)
Put Brynnde out as a paperback
Presented at the public library
Had 20 August finish in the Top 20 in the Film Empire Fempire Screenwriting Contest
Here is what I didn’t manage to do:
Find an agent or publisher for Hamlette
Get any of my screenwriting optioned or produced (not that I was actively looking)
Finish Changers 2 (which at this rate may never be completed)
Get accepted to any conferences or conventions
I’m sad about Hamlette, though I’ve since started a rewrite of it based on the overwhelming feedback I received. I don’t know what to do or think about Changers. Or my screenwriting for that matter. Maybe I’ll adapt all my screenplays to prose and publish them.
Aside from my writing life, I had a fairly good year that included trips to Paris and New York. I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was a treat. (It’s better on stage than reading it, and Scorpius steals the show.)
Later, in another post, I’ll look ahead to 2019 and what might be on the horizon. For now it’s enough to say that, while 2018 didn’t really set my world ablaze, it was steady and not terrible. Sales were decent, and I’m very excited about my paperbacks, which are beautiful!
To be fair, I hadn’t planned to even try to do NaNoWriMo this year, but… I had this idea, shiny and new, and found myself logging into my old NaNo account and signing up for duty.
Then the shiny idea fizzled. I couldn’t get any traction, nor did I feel motivated to push it.
In truth, I don’t normally participate in NaNoWriMo because I’m now a full-time writer anyway, so it doesn’t feel as important to me as it did when I worked a day job. However, I happen to be a very slow writer, so the idea of NaNo possibly forcing me to not overthink things and just get words out does have a kind of appeal. Part of me thinks that if I were truly disciplined—or even if I wanted to badly enough—I’d have managed to get my 50k words regardless of obstacles like appointments, chores, holidays, etc. That’s true any month of the year, I suppose. In fact, NaNo seems to be just another way for me to feel bad about myself and my lack of productivity.
Still, I know NaNoWriMo is a great tool for many writers, so kudos to all who achieved their goal this month. (Or will in the next 24 hours or so.) As for me, all is not lost. I went back to that old K-Pro sequel and am now working on that. Who’da thunk it? I don’t even know if there’s still any interest from readers in this book, but I sure am having fun writing it!
My November was not a complete failure after all. Though I didn’t write 50k or finish a manuscript, I did get my mojo back. NaNo or no NaNo, I’ll call that a win.
Better late than never! Soon you’ll finally be able to pick up Brynnde in paperback! I received the print proof yesterday, and it looks lovely. Brynnde + Faebourne = beautiful additions to any collection.
As for my current WIP, we have a lengthened list of potential titles:
Want to see what I’m working on now? You can read the first chapter (subject to change during editing) here.
Note that it’s not another historical romance, though I will write more of those, too. This one is contemporary, and it’s an adaptation of my television pilot. Sort of a mix of Joss Whedon, Grimm, and The X-Files. Let me know what you think!
I have a few things going on at the moment. For one, trying to get Faebourne ready for publication in August. For another, I’m waiting on responses to Hamlette from five places that are considering it. And then my short story “The Zodiac Clock” is likewise on submission to four places.
I’ve stopped submitting both Hamlette and “The Zodiac Clock.” If Hamlette doesn’t take, I’ll most likely self-publish it. Probably the same for “TZC” though I’d maybe try to write a few more stories and package it as an anthology.
I’m also waiting to hear from conferences where I’ve been put on lists to possibly be a featured author. I love going to conferences, but I’m at the point that I can’t justify the expense—particularly if there is a lot of travel—unless I’m at least contributing and being acknowledged. Still, I also recognize that I’m not as well known as some authors, and conferences want known names that will draw a crowd. At the same time, it’s a bit like the book marketing and publicity Catch-22: publishers put their marketing dollars behind authors who already sell. You’d think conference-goers would maybe get tired of the same handful of authors at each event and instead look for some new and interesting names? Or not.
I try not to be bitter, but I’ll admit a certain amount of frustration. People will say I should hide that side of me, but I believe in being real and honest about the hardships of being an author. It’s not all glamor. A lot of the time it feels like scraping and elbowing your way through a densely packed crowd.
So why call this post “A Handful of Water”? Because that’s also what it feels like: trying to hold something in your hands that leaks through. It’s fluid, and it’s running everywhere. I’ve got so much going on with submissions and my WIP . . . It’s hard to hold on to it all sometimes. And maybe I don’t have to. Maybe the only person who insists on it is me. I don’t know why I put so much pressure on myself, but . . . I feel worthless otherwise. All I have to offer the world is me and my work. If that’s not enough, then I don’t know why I’m here.
I prefer to set goals rather than make resolutions. Here are my goals for 2018, along with deadlines so we can check back in periodically during the year.
Finish Changers 2. Deadline: 1 March
Find an agent for Hamlette. Deadline: 1 May
Lose 15 lbs. Deadline: 1 June
Finish Faebourne. Deadline: 1 September
I’d also like to get started on Epiphanies, and certainly if Hamlette sells and an agent or publisher wants the next book in that series, Epiphanies would get bumped up the list.
For Changers 2, I have a great writing group that’s helping me get through it. For the weight loss, I’ll be participating in a study with 23 and Me that will ensure I stay active, plus I’m tracking my calorie intake. I’ve lost 6 lbs already, but do need to lose about 15 more to reach my ideal weight.
As for Hamlette, I have a number of queries out and some partials that agents have requested, too. Now that the holidays are over, I hope to start receiving responses (ideally of the positive kind). However, if I haven’t achieved this goal by 1 May, I’ll probably start planning to self-publish this book.
Of course, using the new year as a jumping off point is entirely arbitrary. You can wake up any day of your life and decide to make a change or set goals of some kind. But I think psychologically a new year is a nice feeling—the sense of a clean slate and starting fresh.
How about you? Do you set goals or make resolutions? What do you hope to achieve in 2018? I’d love to hear all about it!