writing: a short series

Last week I sent out 5 queries and 1 submission for a novel, The History of Things, which I’ve worked on for 20 years. Not straight – there were multiple other novels, projects, and breaks in between. But the drafts never left me, even as it turned from a romance novel/murder mystery called Southern Rain to Upmarket Women’s Fiction centered on history and memory.

I also got laid off from my main content gig. (yikes).

So this leaves me up at 5am by habit, with empty pages and a lot of ideas. Which is paralyzing.

What should I work on next? The short story (probably a novella, actually) about a single mom who makes a wish to find love and magically gets a bunch of dates, each personality strikingly different (based on enneagram numbers), and the imagined projection of her life if each date ended in eventual marriage?

The children’s books (that is what my MFA was in) – We Are Rich and Enough, about mindfulness and gratitude. Or Sushi for Ceci a picture book about the pandemic? (remember all that takeout?).

What about the Young Adult novel – Butterfly: A Playlist, the semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story organized by songs of the 90s?

I still need to finish Rumbling the Reason, a motivational non-fiction work centered on the lives of authors and artists, too. I loved working on that daily, but it was a ton of work, and I lost steam when no one cared.

That is one of the hardest things to break through. As a writer, you have to put in hours of work. And I know – no one who doesn’t write doesn’t want to hear that it’s grueling. WHAT COULD BE SO HARD ABOUT SITTING AT A DESK TYPING WORDS?

But it it grueling.

This is what I know about writing. You have to sit down every day. And write. Even if no one is reading. Even if no one cares. Even if you end up writing a 200,000-word novel and it’s too long, and you have to cut it in half, or worse, just throw out the whole damn thing because it sucks. And then you write another. And another. And another. And still – no one cares. (This sounds very depressing).

But even if you’re a ‘pantser,’ you need to have some kind of plan – a project – even if it’s just an essay, an outline, a blog you sit down at daily, weekly. A seed you can plant, water, and watch slowly grow – then bloom.

I’ll have good news by the end of this series. I just know it. 🙂


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