Monday, January 28, 2013

Late late resolutions!

So far this year I have mostly sulked, fretted, refreshed my inbox and wondered what on earth I keep punishing myself for. I have not done much writing or actually had any enthusiasm to do any. The spreadsheets that I downloaded at the end of last year, ready to fill with my wonderful daily totals, are there in Excel but other than share them with my Minxy friends I haven't done a thing with them.

Something occurred to me after we Minxes had one of our wonderful Skyping sessions, during which I was given several gentle kicks up the rear. For the last couple of years at least I've worked so hard at writing within the boxes that category romance requires. I've tried to venture out of the box a few times, or at least bend the sides a little, but that didn't seem to work.

But there's something I haven't done. I haven't kept going with the next ms while one is away. I've sat and found other things to occupy me. Fast tracks, pitches, contests. If I see any of those words I'm totally there. With bells on. Even if it's a genre I don't usually write. When really I need to work on a ms and see it through.

So my resolution as we are heading towards the second month of the year is to spend the next 11 months ignoring anything that promises* a shortcut to being published. I have had a long talk with myself (I do this a lot, please tell me I'm not alone) and convinced myself that by working hard and writing the stories I want to write I have a much better chance of success.

What do you do when it all seems so hard and it would be easier to quit writing and do something much easier instead?!

*these opportunities DO NOT promise a quick way to publication but somehow that's how my brain interprets them.

7 comments:

Amalie said...

I also get the pitch/contest/fast-track MANIA. It's very tempting. Like someone dangling chocolate in front of me at certain times of the month.

Even saying that, when I see the hosts mention that they have lots of exciting opportunities coming up this year, I totally already start salivating, Pavlov's Dog Romance Writer.

Jennifer Faye said...

Oh my, not sure I should be commenting on this as HQ's SYTYCW and HQ's Fast Track are responsible for me selling. Hmm...oh well. I will say that I narrowed my opportunities to those lines that I could see myself writing 20 or 30 books.

As for what to do while waiting or when the road gets awfully steep, I must admit to saying to myself that I was wasting my time. I would never, ever sell. Boy was I wrong. :-) And thankfully I can't NOT write. It's an impossibility. Even if I only do it for myself. I will write.

So write what you are passionate about and push through to the end. You'll be thrilled you did. :-)

Romy Sommer said...

You definitely need to write what's in your heart and not what you think will fit certain guidelines. Once you've written a story you love, it'll find a home, I really believe that!

Also, finishing a book is such a great learning curve, that it really beats flitting from one story to another hands down.

Maya said...

Hmm, I wouldn't *totally* close the door to contests, Jo, as I know I wouldn't have met my lovely Minxes if I hadn't entered one. But I completely concur with Romy. Finishing a book (even if you shove it under a mattress afterwards) gives you such a boost because once you've done one the next one seems doable. Keep writing is the best advice I can offer. xx

Maya said...

Hmm, I wouldn't *totally* close the door to contests, Jo, as I know I wouldn't have met my lovely Minxes if I hadn't entered one. But I completely concur with Romy. Finishing a book (even if you shove it under a mattress afterwards) gives you such a boost because once you've done one the next one seems doable. Keep writing is the best advice I can offer. xx

Jennifer Hayward said...

Great blog Catherine! I was thinking about what you said about keeping going and for me, finishing that first full manuscript was a daunting task and I see all the flaws in it now. But then the second got easier and the third full was The Divorce Party which I loved writing from the very first page to the end. And I think that was the key to keeping going - writing what I loved. Here's to much writing inspiration in 2013 xo

Catherine Coles said...

Yes, Amalie, exactly like dangling chocolate! In my case it's like putting a box of Cadbury's Creme Eggs in front of me and telling me I can't have one until I've entered the pitch/fast track/comp! I can't resist. And, yes, I'm totally salivating right now :/

Jenn - that really is the best advice, isn't it? Choose the line you can see yourself writing 20+ books for. And honestly, although medicals wasn't the first genre I saw myself writing for it is the one I get the most new ideas for these days! And you're right, if you can't NOT write the only thing is to push on through and keep writing!!

Finishing a book and then the next one and the next one is the only way to do it isn't it? After all, I've never heard of an editor buying a partial or a chapter or a synopsis ... time to get on with the hard, nitty gritty stuff instead of satisfying myself with 101 different beginnings :-)

And wouldn't you know, Maya, the week I post saying I am never entering one again there's a pitch for a line I *do* have a book started for. Hmmm. I'm thinking I need to get on with this book BEFORE I enter. And get it finished! And, definitely, contests have lots to recommend them, i.e. wonderful Minxes!

Thanks, Jennifer! And totally, keeping on going until the end and learning more about yourself and your writing while you're doing it is probably the best learning a writer can do (awful English there!) because you learn so much about your process and what does/doesn't work for you.