I always imagined that once I handed my manuscript off to my agents for pitching, I’d take a nice long vacation from all that writing work. But now that the pitching process is underway, I feel the exact opposite of what I’d expected. Though I’m incredibly busy moving to a new house this week, planning a wedding, and getting ready for a family trip to California, I can’t stop myself from feeling guilty for not having started a new writing project yet.
I’m now hearing the advice of all my colleagues and mentors reverberating in my mind, telling me to have multiple projects going on at one time, to never have all my hopes resting on one project. And suddenly the possibilities seem endless–and overwhelming. I’d always thought that once I finished the project that took me away from the collection of poetry I’d been working on during my Masters, I’d return to it with new eyes and start shopping it around for publication at a small press. But now I’m not so sure. Of course, it would be nice if whatever I dive into next will hold great personal and creative interest, but I would be remiss if I didn’t think about what will be best for my career. I am, after all, hoping to make a go of this writing business for the rest of my life, and I’m constantly learning how hard that is to do.
So, assuming that my memoir makes even the tiniest of splashes in the publishing world, I’d like to use whatever following I gain from that success for my next endeavor. Will it be a middle grade/young adult novel, novel in verse, prose novel, theme-based poetry collection, or something else entirely? I’ve learned so much more than I could have anticipated over the last year while finishing the memoir, that whatever I decide to do next, I know it will bring my knowledge of this industry up even higher.
Beyond trying to keep the writing momentum alive, I also know that on a personal level, I do so much better when I stay busy. As much as I like to think that finishing my day job and then having the night off sounds wonderful, I know that it would only be a few weeks before all my gusto would disappear, my writing skills would dull, and I would become mad at myself for not doing the one thing that makes me feel like I have a place in this world. Staying busy keeps me active, organized, and fulfilled.
My plan is to spend the next month brainstorming ideas and by the middle of November, have a project set and ready for outlining. That way, I can spend the holiday/winter months working on a VERY detailed outline, and begin writing by springtime. I’m making this all public here so that I have no choice but to follow through, and I hope you will all hold me to that. If you don’t see blog posts about this yet-to-be-determined new writing project by the end of next month, please speak up!