I’ve reached a new phase of my writing career and I find myself wondering: can I do it?
For years I’ve been studying the craft of writing fiction. I worked on manuscripts, but tossed most of them aside (the plots have more holes than Baby Swiss). When I finally figured out the plots, my characters needed work, then the details (showing, sensory details, dialogue). After years of reworking and editing, I finished a manuscript. Another writer critiqued it. It’s ready to pitch. During that time, I started another manuscript, which is currently in the editing/critiquing phase. Even with all of this happening, my mind is still whirling and the ideas keep coming.
What do I do?
I don’t want to ignore any of my characters; nor do I want to miss an opportunity for one manuscript because I’m too focused on the next one. How much is too much? How long do I focus on one story before moving on to the next? I can handle two flaming irons (I do, after all, have two hands), but can I handle the third one? Then I need to consider the worst-case (or best-case) scenario: suppose I actually sign that book deal – am I prepared to market and publicize the book (and myself) while editing and writing?
The obvious answer to all of these questions is that I don’t know.
I’m not going to let my inexperience discourage me, though. I’m not even going to let it hinder me. The least I can do is get some advice and try my best, so that’s what I’m going to do. In fact, I’m formulating a plan.
1. Query my manuscript: I’ve been researching agents and publishers. It’s time to start submitting. In the meantime…
2. Write, edit, repeat: Don’t stop now! I’ve got a great crit group that’s challenging me. Why would I stop?
3. Take notes: I don’t know if I can handle a third manuscript right now, but I can’t let these ideas get away from me. I’ve come to love private Pintrest boards for putting story ideas in one place.
It looks like a lot of work. It will be a lot of work. It’s also necessary to keep the creativity flowing and my hope of publication alive.
How many different things have you tried to do at a time? Did it work?