TO WRITE OR NOT TO WRITE? — THAT IS THE QUESTION
So, here I am again—at the BUT.
Excited that my manuscript is in the final, final stages, I dread the line-by-line grammatical correction that stands between me and completion. (My critique buddies know what that means for me). It is a grueling chore. BUT, the anticipation of sharing my work with carefully selected agents and editors has me plugging away at the task.
BUT, there is that little twitch in the deepest recesses of my mind. Where do I go from here? Is this it? Am I done? I have invested so much. BUT, nothing is published. Should I bother to start another project? It’s a huge commitment. BUT, I’ve invested so much, learned so much, made so many wonderful contacts and friends. BUT, what for? Because, I love it? Is that enough? I don’t love correcting grammar. I do love creating the story, giving the character’s voice a platform, journeying with them, and helping them find their way. BUT, it would be so easy not to get caught up in another story. BUT, would it really? No, BUT . . . I could work more, clean the house more, visit elderly relatives more, read published works more. BUT, . . . yup, back at that BUT, again.
Have you been here? I’m guessing we all have at one time or another. What has pushed you past the BUT?
Two years ago I finished the umteenth version of my middle grade historical fiction, Powder Monkey, just in time for quick queries at the NESCBWI conference. I’d had ideas for River Runner bouncing around for months and months, BUT, did I want to commit to the next project? Well, as anyone who has ever attended will attest, the conference is a great motivator. As a matter of fact, if you’re going this year (and why wouldn’t you be going?), do yourself a favor and block out some calendar time the week after (May 2-7) for follow-up activities. There will be things to read, exercises to try, edits to your work that just can’t wait.
So, don’t let the BUT stop you. Remember what a great man, (my Dad), used to say . . . ‘50% of every task is simply to start.’
Right now, I don’t love the job at hand. BUT, when I finish, I need to start. I’ll outline my new ideas and just let the words flow and hey look at that, the project will be 50% done—because I started—TO WRITE!
What motivates you when the dreaded BUT comes along? Do you take a break when you complete a project or just dive into the next? Or, do you juggle multiple manuscripts at one time? Feel free to share your secrets for keeping at it, or simply getting started. We all need a little motivational tug at some time or another.