Sunday, June 6, 2010

NEARING THE END

Scary to think it is June. My year of writing began eleven months ago and, with an end in sight, I’m feeling on edge. Sure, I need to remind myself that it’s more of a baker’s year: thirteen months (plus a week or two), not the standard twelve. But that still doesn’t leave a lot of time.

I’ve enjoyed the freedom that comes with writing full-time six days a week. I’ve worked on screenplays, teleplays, picture book manuscripts, a short shorts collection, juvenile novels, a young adult novel and two novels for adults. Several items are finished, but I continue to struggle in finding the right people to read them. (My scripts have all been returned unopened.) Many projects have first drafts completed and a few are in various stages of revision, but now I have to prioritize which ones I should strive to fully polish and submit before I head back to my regular job. It’s a tough call. Naturally, some of the projects I am most excited about are farthest from the finish line.

For the past month, I have spent the bulk of my time completing, revising and polishing a juvenile novel manuscript, entitled The Lawn Patrol. The process has been satisfying, but I must admit that the last two weeks, focused on deleting ten percent to bring down the word count, hasn’t been the most creatively stimulating. I intend to complete some finishing touches today and submit the work this week.

It is tempting to celebrate finishing Lawn Patrol by going on a mini vacation—Whistler, maybe Victoria. But that gets complicated. What about the dogs? What about the fact a trip, however small, is not in the budget? After all, I am traveling to L.A. at the end of July for a children’s writers’ conference. Can’t I postpone the extrinsic reward? How about an ice cream cone—double scoop—for the time being?

Yeah, not the same.

The urge is to dive into one of my newer endeavors instead of revising another completed first draft. That’s the artist in me, needing to reignite the spark. The practical, business side, however, nags me to work on the next project that is closest to submission quality. I will probably juggle the two, a suitable compromise.

It would be best if I could block out the fact that I will be starting a new job soon with new staff, new students, new parents, new district personnel, new regulations, new…My stomach goes into knots just typing that. It doesn’t help that I was at the new school one day last week and I have a full day there this week. Makes it harder to protect my writing time as thoughts of the future creep in.

This year has been a luxury. I saved up the money and made it happen. Most people cannot do that. My biggest motivators are the passion and joy that come with writing. A full-time career as a writer remains the dream. I am fortunate—despite that irksome inner voice sometimes saying I am foolish—to still pursue it.

3 comments:

  1. Your past year sounds wonderful, busy, creative--tiring!

    And boy oh boy do I hear you on this:

    "The urge is to dive into one of my newer endeavors instead of revising another completed first draft. That’s the artist in me, needing to reignite the spark."

    Good luck at your new school!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Deb,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It has been an outstanding year and I'm clinging to the last months.

    Yes, without a little self-discipline, the fun, creative part of writing can win out over the necessary nitty-gritty!

    ReplyDelete