When I realized that writing was about to become a much larger part of my life, I did two things. First, I did a happy dance. Second, I made a plan. I have several projects at various stages of development. It wasn’t too hard to picture myself bouncing without ever completing anything. After all, it’d been a long time since I’d worked on a full length manuscript. What if I’d forgotten how to plot or worse, put words together in a way that makes me smile?
Part one – Pick a Project. This stage of my plan was foolishly simple, but too forever to navigate. I reviewed notes from two plus years ago. I have four manuscripts that I am in the middle of, and several others outlined. Given the options, how hard could it be to nail it down to one? I finally settled on Love and Devotion. Frankly, I was a little surprised by the decision since it requires the most work. The others are much further along. Before I started working on it a few weeks ago, all I had was a short story by the same name and an idea of where to take it. The story has legs of its own and the short story, while the catalyst for development, really plays no part in the full length manuscript at all. I wrote the story a couple of years ago for an anthology that Sacchi Green put together called Lesbian Lust: Erotic Stories. From the second I completed it, I knew there was more story to tell for those two women.
Part two – Pick Another Project. I know, this sounds counter intuitive to what I said above about not wanting to bounce, but it takes a while to complete a full manuscript. Even writing full time, it’s not something I can complete in a week. And it takes even longer for it to make it onto the publishing schedule. I’ve been missing in action for the better part of two years. I need to remind people I’m alive sooner rather than later. So I looked for calls for submissions. I want to do something short and quick. I searched all the usual places, then emailed the editors I’d worked with before. There is literally NOTHING out there for lesbian fiction right now. Please, if you can prove me wrong, post a link in the comments below. Luck, however, favored me on my quest. I spoke with my publisher about my dilema and she suggested that I write an e-short for them. Rather than being included in a larger collection, it would be a stand alone purchase available only online. I have to tell ya, folks, this idea appeals to me a LOT.
Part three – Make a Writing Schedule. I have a VERY busy life, as do we all. I could run down a list of my responsibilities, but what it all boils down to is this: it’s very easy to let the minutia of life chip away at my writing time until I’m left feeling utterly frustrated with no actual written words to show for my time spent “writing.” I’m serious about having a schedule. On the bulletin board in our kitchen, my daily schedule is written in blue Sharpie. All my time during the day is accounted for. And I may very well deviate from that schedule from time to time, but having it written makes me hyper aware of the sacrifice I’m making in the moment. So far, that has worked very well.
Part four – WRITE. Pretty simple and so far it’s been going well. I’ve found I write better with routine, thus the need for a schedule. I also go to my office to write. I go through a mental shift when I enter that room. My macbook is no longer a toy designed to entertain me, it is a tool intended for work.
Knowing all that, I thought I’d give y’all a little progress report. I’m about 17k words into Love and Devotion. More than that, I’m pretty proud of the work I’m doing there. It’s going to be a good book.
As for the e-short, that is a bit different. On the positive side, I finished a story that is about 7k words. That’s a little on the long side compared to the length of one of my normal shorts. And I really didn’t like it. I realized I started the story in the wrong damn place and there’s no way to fix that without writing something completely different. So I started over. I got about 3k words into the second story when I realized I just flat out didn’t like it. Didn’t like the women. Didn’t like what they were doing. Didn’t like anything about it. So I scrapped the whole she-bang.
Then I started over with zombies. When frustrated with your writing, throw in a member of the undead. It’s a surefire recipe for success. So far, the zombies and I are getting along well. My target word count is 5,000+. I’m a little over 3,000 words into the story and wondering if maybe I haven’t started a novella instead of a e-short. Sigh. We’ll see where the quest for brains takes me, ‘eh?
Okay, with that, it’s time for me to go do what I’ve been writing about and that’s write.