I like to think of myself as an optimist. Always looking for the silver lining. The glass is half full.
It’s hard to keep that mindset. Sometimes I take things too much to heart. Sometimes I get down on myself for areas where I’ve failed. I run a vicious cycle in my mind of how I’ve screwed up.
In 2015, I decided to take my writing seriously. I was done making excuses. I was done playing around. I was going to finally make progress. I was finally going to win. I even coined a little phrase for myself. “I Win 2015!” I had two big goals for that year. Two things I was focused on.
- Publishing a book of short stories
- Publishing Sentinels of Mysera
I started out strong. Ran through Holly Lisle’s Flash Fiction course and got a bunch of short stories done. Sent Sentinels of Mysera to a couple people who were willing to content edit. Waited and tried to keep myself busy with the shorts, telling myself I was making progress.
Then I ended up in Redwall Survivor as Vera Silvertooth and my regular writing got put on hold as I did that. Redwall Survivor ended up being one of the best things I could have done, because on a weekly or so basis, I was writing a 1000 – 2000 word story, revising it, getting it critiqued by the cast, doing final edits, then posting it for the audience, where it was further commented on and critiqued. After finding out I’d survived another round of voting, it was back work on the next post.
Not only did I gain valuable experience as a writer, but I built relationships with a core of other writers who have different strengths that I do and were able to point out flaws and weaknesses in my writing.
By the time the end of 2015 hit, I’d grown in great ways as a writer, but I had failed to meet my two major goals.
One step forward, one back.
2016 was the year of revising Battle of the Bargaws, which is Sentinels Book 2. Through Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel course, I finally found myself learning the tricks and strategies that I needed to turn a wreck of a book into something good. While that was being done, I assembled notes on Tales of Mysera (my collection of short stories) and Sentinels of Mysera and had in my mind that edits and publication of those would happen in the later half of the year.
But I hit a wall, burned out a bit, and didn’t do much between finishing BotB revisions and NaNoWriMo.
My 2016 NaNo dragged into 2017 and now I find myself in the middle of April, two years behind my goal of “Publishing ToM and SoM.” In fact, both of those projects are now further back that I thought.
I spent two weeks going over SoM using HTRYN’s Lesson 1 and my dusty notes from my friends. At first I was frustrated with how long it took me, because I got through BotB in a week, not two. Reminded myself that SoM was almost twice the length of BotB, and kept going.
I’m less than encouraged by the results.
There are holes in SoM that I forgot to fill. There are errors. There are spots where I’m cringing at what I wrote. I’m almost embarrassed that I let anyone read it. The book that I thought was finished in 2015 is far, far from it.
One step forward. Two steps back.
My plan, at the beginning of 2017, was to have a revised, update version of SoM done by June 1, with a target publication date of January 2018.
I did not realize how broken the book was. And I didn’t anticipate that it may take me longer to revise, since it’s longer.
My June 1st revision date is not doable in the time I have to spend on the project each day. If I can manage the HTRYN lessons faster than last year, I’m still looking at finishing revisions by mid-September. But it’s highly probable that I may be working on this for the rest of the year.
Redwall Survivor is gearing up to kick off a new contest. I’m going to apply again, but if I make it in and if I last as long as I did in 2015, that’s going to slow down progress on SoM, because I have learned that I struggle with running two creative projects at once.
Plus I just signed up for Holly Lisle’s How To Write a Series course, and I’d like to work through that, too.
Of course, I don’t have the time or the energy to do everything. I have to juggle my family and those responsibilities in addition to writing. I’m still trying to figure out the balancing act to doing what needs done without burning out, because for me, that is a concern. When I push too hard for too long, then I burn out and everything stops. It’s not fair to me, my husband, or my kids when that happens.
Where does that put me and SoM? Well….
I’m going to keep plugging away, doing my darnedest to complete one lesson a week in HTRYN, but knowing that I’ll likely need to extend it to two weeks for most lessons. If I make it into Redwall Survivor, I’ll reevaluate my schedule and figure out a juggling act.
If I don’t get into Redwall Survivor this year, then I’ll know I can focus everything on SoM.
Tentative new deadline is to have SoM revisions done before NaNoWriMo 2017, so I have November free to write something new.