Beginnings are hard for me. I’m much better with middles.
When I’m starting a new writing project, I tend to think about it for months before I put words on paper. I invite the characters over for hot chocolate, hang out with them, ask them about their relatives. I dream about them. I start weaving plot threads together in my brain. I’m good with all that. But heaven help me when it’s time to sit down and write Chapter 1.
So here we are, two days into the New Year, and I’m just getting around to posting some writerly goals. I’m beginning late, but beginning…
- I’m going to give myself permission to slow down. When I have a draft finished or even a second or third revision, it nags at me to get back to it until it’s done. That can be a good thing. But sometimes, what a story needs is a little distance and perspective, and you can’t do that the day after a revision. It’s okay if my next novel takes longer.
- My writing schedule works for me. I get in a few hours a night after the kids are in bed, and they’re productive hours, so I’m going to stick to that schedule. I’m going to make sure the other side of writing (blogging, answering emails, promotions, paperwork) doesn’t get in the way of telling stories. I love Laurie Halse Anderson’s advice to keep that part of your writing life in a little box — give it, say, half an hour a day — and then don’t let it out. I’m going to try to hold myself to that.
- I’m going to blog more about process. I love reading about other people’s writing process, but I’ve noticed that I’m pretty stingy when it comes to sharing my own.
- I will strike a better balance when my second book comes out next fall. When SPITFIRE was released this year, it was thrilling and a dream come true and wonderful in so many ways. But my schedule just about swallowed me whole, and I found myself yearning for more family time and more writing time. Sales for my first book have been beyond what my publisher expected, so I’m glad I did so much to promote the book, but now I have a better idea for what works and what doesn’t.
- I’ll remember to take time for wonder. To remember that moments like these…
Central Park, November 2007
Baker Mountain, Saranac Lake, NY – October 2007
Atwater Market, Montreal, October 2007
Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park, CA – August 2007
Copperas Pond, Wilmington, NY – July 2007 (Yes, that’s me)
Lake Champlain, my back yard, June 2007
…are just as important for a writer’s soul as the time spent at the keyboard.
May your 2008 be full of moments, words, and beauty.
Happy New Year!!