Writing Posts

A Change in Plans

Last year, I was on an amazing writing streak, writing four books between one November and the next. It was…mental, to be honest.

So when the new year started, my plan–my vision–was to do the exact same thing again. I had a sequel in one series to write, three new series to start, not to mention all the editing I needed to do with everything I’d written so far. The creativity was kicking, the productivity flowing. Books were going to be written, people. So many new books.

 things read need library feed GIF

As you may have intuitively guessed (or figured out, if you follow this blog), I haven’t written a single new book this year.

I even tried to write one. Got 50 pages in before I started over, deleting most of it. Then, got to 60 pages before I tabled a book for the first time. The words were just not flowing and even though I haven’t written it yet, I knew that story is too important to half-ass just to finish it. It deserve the best I can offer and I wasn’t giving that.

So I went and started editing ARTEMIS, my favorite book I wrote last year. And I wrote this post about some of the fears and roadblocks I had surrounding writing and how I’d been in a rut for so long. One of the points I made was that I felt like turning to editing when writing something new wasn’t working felt like cheating. Like I wasn’t actually writing, because I was simply revising words I’d already written.

Then, the lovely, inspiring and talented Melissa Caruso (who’s debut, THE TETHERED MAGE, comes out THIS OCTOBER *squee*) commented on that post and said this:

If it helps with the “Editing is not writing” mindset, I think editing is not only writing, it is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. I did the very first draft of TTM in like 2 months and then spent… uh… a year editing it, on and off? Something like that. And there’s not much left of that first draft. It had to be done to get to the final, but it was the editing where I did most of my best work on it. I would be embarrassed to show you some of the crappy first try scenes! I used to hate revising, but now I see it as what it is—writing—and I kind of love it.

And if it helps you not give up… I can tell you FOR SURE that every book, every page, is getting you more XP to level up. I had to write, um, let’s go with “several” books before Naomi rescued me from the slush pile, and one more for good luck before getting a publisher. It’s worth the wait! The more books you write before The Book, the better The Book will be when you get there. You got this!

And friends, that has stuck with me.

I’m only 20 pages away from finishing this round of edits on ARTEMIS (and let me tell you, those last 20 pages are going to make me earn it). So many times, I have rewritten entire paragraphs, if not entire chapters.

That’s most certainly counts as writing.

Not only that, but I like to believe that a lot of the changes I’ve made have been improvements. There were entire scenes I skimmed over which, now that I’ve fleshed them out, makes the story so much stronger, so much more in-scene. I’ve given my characters more depth, made them more realistic. Even though I haven’t finished it yet, I feel like this third draft of ARTEMIS is so much stronger than what I started out with. And I actually was really proud of that first draft.

It made me wonder: how could I improve my other stories; stories which were the stepping stones that enabled me to have the tools, the courage and the gumption to write ARTEMIS in the first place? How could I use what I’ve learned editing ARTEMIS–not to mention the knowledge I’ve obtained and soaked in from other writers, editors and professionals in the field these past two years, becoming more involved in the writing community–to improve the stories that have sat on the back burner for so long?

My original plan was to try and write four new books this year. Now, I’ve decided to spend the rest of 2017 editing the books I’ve already written. After I finish ARTEMIS, I’m going to enter that manuscript into Pitch Wars. Then, I think I’m going to (*cough*finally*cough*) look at some beta feedback I got over THE RESISTANCE and give that book some desperate attention. Then, if I’m feeling really brave, I’ll return to Darryn and his story, told through the DESTINY OF THE DRAGON trilogy. I know that trilogy has a lot of work and while it’s a troped story that will probably never see the light of day, traditional-publication wise, I still want to make it the best story I can. I just love it too much.

 the joker GIF

Of course, plans can change. Maybe I’ll win Pitch Wars and spend the rest of 2017 fervently working on ARTEMIS (wouldn’t that be a dream?). Maybe I’ll finally figure out how to work around the blocks in Natanni’s story and return to have another crack at that. Maybe I’ll flesh out one of the other books I planned to write and get caught up in the excitement of a new story. I have no idea. But for now, I hope to continue to learn and appreciate the process that is editing, so that I can keep leveling up and writing the best stories I can in that given moment.

Because I really want to take up a spot on your bookshelf, one day.


16 thoughts on “A Change in Plans”

  1. YAY!!! This warms my heart so much. And resonates a LOT, because I used to leap from one first or second draft to the next, and it was when I finally embraced editing and really kept going back to the same book again and again making it better and better, digging deeper and deeper into the characters/story/world, that I finally wrote something good enough to get an agent…it was my big turning point. I hope it is for you, too! I’m rooting for you, and I look forward to the day when you take up a spot on my shelf!

    1. After you finishing writing your trilogy, can you write a motivational book? Because so far, I want to print off every lovely comment you’ve left on my blog and surround my office with them, so I remember all of your fantastic advice and encouragement. Seriously, Melissa, I cannot thank you enough. You inspire the hell outta me.

      Also, only a few more months until your book is on MY shelf! *squees as she spins around in her roll-y chair*

  2. Meanwhile, I’ve started three books since last November and finished none of them… I think I have a “get the first draft done” problem. 😛 Probably because I do so much editing as I go instead of finishing the darn thing first… (There is an upcoming blog post on that topic, already planned.)

    I love that you’re staying flexible enough with your plans to give your stories the attention they need (and you deserve). I know I’m going to see your books on the shelf one day, and you know I’ll buy every single one of them! ❤ 🙂

    1. Dude, at least you are chasing your creativity and not going into a rut of not producing anything for months on end. Because something that is started can always be finished–even if you took a break to work on something else for a little while. I CANNOT wait for that blog post (I love your posts).

      YOU ARE THE SWEETEST HUMAN EVER. You’d better believe I’ll be demanding your autograph on my personal copies of your works here before too long.

      1. Maybe not this time, but I HAVE stopped writing for several multi-year gaps in the past! It sucks. But I also know it’s something that you can overcome! You will! Aw, thank you. ☺️

        Not as sweet as you! 💙 You better believe we’ll both be getting autographed copies! 😃

      2. It definitely does suck, I feel you on that one. But we also have one another to encourage, now, so maybe when slumps happen in the future, they won’t last as long because we’ll remember the cheerleader we have across the country. ❤

        Hell yes we will!

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