Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One Tiny Advantage

This wasn't the most productive writing week I've ever had. I timidly poked at a new-ish idea instead of pushing forward in my WIP because my manuscript has me feeling a bit like this.

Here's the deal: I complete things. Take reading, as an example. I still sometimes have to remind myself it's okay to set aside books that don't grab me. Life is short, and there are countless great books out there. Why waste time reading the ones I don't really want to finish?

Along the same lines, I complete the manuscripts I believe in and love. You know how it is, that need to get a story out of your dreams and on to paper (or screen). Then comes the revising, when that fire inside keeps you working on a manuscript until it's just right. It's a passion that grips a writer by the heart and the brain.

Lately, however, this one particular manuscript has me less than fired up--even though I still love it. Maybe it's now a we-should-just-be-friends love rather than an I-want-to-devote-all-my-writing-time-to-you love. Or maybe this manuscript and I are meant to be, and I just need some space, and to consider all my options.

Whatever. I don't know.

What I do know is this (and it may seem like a topic leap, but hang in there with me): There is one advantage to not being under contract. Seriously. There are oodles of disadvantages, and it will be huge when I get my first contract. H-U-U-U-G-E. In my mind, the Earth itself will spin smoother, the flowers will bloom bloomier, and everything will be like this.

What is the one advantage? I can write what I want. I'm allowed to play and truly experiment without limits. I've had two authors encourage me to embrace this time because of that reason. An optimist, I'm trying to do just that while keeping a structured writing life with self-imposed deadlines, rewards, and all the rest. Taking joy has always led me to the work that makes me the proudest.

So! This week while I write, I'll pull out whichever project speaks to my heart.

14 comments:

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Seriously, Dawn. Enjoy the freedom of the writing play time. I'm so glad I took advantage of the window and worked on a variety of projects and pursued my shiny new ideas and brainstormed oodles. It has sustained me through the dark hours of submission and other agenty angst. BTW, we've finally moved to Colorado.

Dawn Simon said...

Hello, Angelina of Colorado! You totally get it. Thanks for the positivity and support, as always! xo

Kristen Lippert-Martin said...

I've read blog posts by two authors who said exactly the same thing: they wish they could go back in time to when they could write whatever they wanted instead of what was expected. So, yes, you are wise indeed and I'm going to borrow from your wisdom and remind myself that I should savor this freedom, too.

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Yes, it's liberating when the only expectations you have to meet are those you set for yourself. Onward with your liberation!

Dawn Simon said...

Thank you, Kristen! The first time an author told me that, I thought, What?! But there is something worth savoring, isn't there? As for wisdom, I can't claim it. I'm just processing, figuring things out.

Thanks, Steven! Hope you're enjoying the Seattle sun!

Barb Davis-Pyles said...

Dawn, I'm in the same boat you're sailing in. That is, I'm really trying to enjoy where I am in the process. Thanks for the reminder that the freedom to write from the heart is a beautiful thing!

Janet Johnson said...

I completely agree about that advantage! I actually think it's a bigger deal than we realize. I try to enjoy it as much as I can, too!

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Good job! I hope it's going well this week. It's so FUN to write what's in your heart, so I hope you find the joy in it. I bet the spark will come back to your other ms after awhile. You'll read through it someday in the future and say, "This is brilliant! Why did I ever stop writing this?" ha ha! :D

Dawn Simon said...

You're welcome, Barb! :)

I'm glad, Janet!

Amy, isn't it such an amazing feeling when you pick up something you wrote before and it actually gives you a big boost? It's so easy to be our own worst critics, you know? It's a good thing when time and space allow us to gain perspective.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Dawn,
Those writers are right. I've always liked the freedom of working on what calls whenever. I guess that's why I got so much written before I got my first contract. I simply wrote what consumed me.

Nowadays, I'm feeling the pressure to work on a particular project because it's what's logical in terms of publication sequencing. Not so wonderful when other projects are calling my name. :)

Have fun writing what you feel like. You never know when that luxury will depart.

Jackee said...

Hi Dawn!!!! Good to see you. Following your heart is certainly a blessing. That said, there is a feeling of happy triumph in the accomplishment of a completely revised book. I hope whichever speaks to your heart does so enough to get to that point! Hugs!

Medeia Sharif said...

My manuscripts pre-publication were a motley bunch, truly varied. This summer I strayed, though, and it was wonderful to write something different.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Yes! I've thought the same thing, about how one of the advantages of not being under contract is that you can write what you want. It's still hard not to feel the pressure, though, when you have half a manuscript done and think about starting over again on something entirely new.

Good luck! I hope you fall back in love again - if not now, then after a break.

Dawn Simon said...

Thanks, you guys! I appreciate everyone's thoughts and support. :)