I have thought before that, instead of working on one writing project at a time, it makes sense to work on three:
- One to research/brainstorm/outline.
- One to write.
- One to edit.
In this way, no matter what kind of mood I’m in, I’d have something to do. Sometimes the creative juices are flowing, and I just can’t keep the words off the page. Sometimes I’m in a scholarly sort of mood, wanting to read textbooks and take notes. Sometimes I’m in a hyper-critical mood, ready to rip every sentence ever written into tiny shreds, no error too tiny to escape my judgment (this is maybe one week out of every lunar cycle…).
I’m kind of doing this three-project system now, but by accident. While I do think this would be a good system, I’ve never adopted it, because I already have:
- A full time kid
- A full time job
- A full time house to clean, repair, and provide for
- Occasional attempts at a social life
Plus I have a blog! For some damn reason.
I don’t have time to maintain three writing projects at once.
But I’m in first draft stage of one that I’m loving, and don’t want to take a break from. Then somebody requested some edits to the one I’d already finished and started querying, so I’m tightening that one up a little more. Then I got the germ of a new idea that I just can’t let go of, and researching is a totally fun way to feel productive, learn something new, and take my mind off the soul-extinguishing merry-go-round of eternal rejection that is the querying process. So now I’m accomplishing next-to-nothing every day on three projects.
This is not sustainable, when you don’t have much free time to work with. I’m going to have to let the new baby project sleep for now, I guess. Even though I just ordered four new books on the subject. (Here by Friday! Yay!)
And the edits shouldn’t take too long, to satisfy the one Revise & Resubmit on the old project. So I’ll soon be back down to one at a time.
But why query at all? I’m asking myself this question more and more. The rejections and no-responses seem to be in danger of sucking all the joy out of what was once a very pleasant hobby.
It’s not like I’m under the illusion I’ll ever get rich and quit my day job. My day job is reasonably cushy, with great benefits, and frankly I do my best work on my lunch break. I mainly want validation. But is all this worth it?
I thought about it more seriously when my daughter (with whom I over-share everything) showed me her sketch book last weekend. It’s full of things like this:
“in area 51”
Her drawings have prices on them! Have I bitched about querying so much that I’ve warped her tiny perception of the world? The only reason to create is in the hopes someone will buy your creation?
You never understand yourself quite as clearly as when a kid explains you.
I’m not quite ready to give up querying yet. I think I’m getting better at it, and the rejections are… not as overwhelming and humiliating as they were at first.
But I am going to spend more time focusing on what I like. Writing. Learning about writing. Ordering esoteric history books.
If you would like to purchase “in area 51” you can PayPal me, I’ll forward the proceeds to the artist.