Monday, September 26, 2011

"Rest" Is A Four-Letter Word.

Last week, I likened my move to outlining to make sure those ideas you get at random points throughout the day don’t get left behind in the frenzy to get words on paper. This week, I’m going to use the same analogy, only on the other end.

So I’ve moved. My husband and I boxed, trucked, transported, and unloaded all our earthly belongings. We did it in less than a week, and I must say, I am most impressed with us. Of course, I am achy and tired now, and don’t want to consider the boxes I have now to unpack and the various items that now need a new place. I mean, I did the hard part, right? Isn’t a break in order?

In the writing industry, there are no breaks. Sorry. Unless you want to stop seeing your name on Coming Soon lists, you don’t get to pause. If it’s not writing, it’s editing. If it’s not editing, it’s promoting. If it’s not promoting, it’s writing. Writing is just Phase One. Finishing the manuscript feels fantastic, certainly, but don’t let yourself get too comfortable. You still have to read through the damn thing again, send it to CPs, make adjustments, tweak out unnecessary words/scenes, make sure your characters’ eyes stay the same color throughout, write a blurb, condense your manuscript into a 3-page synopsis, send it to the publisher(s), sign your contract, fill out cover art forms, meet your editor, complete edits, and then when release day hits the real work begins.

Seem like a lot? It is. But if you’re serious about what you do, you’ll look forward to each step.

I suppose the trick is to take it in installments. For me, I’m handling my move with one box at a time, one room at a time. It’ll take a while, but I’d rather go slow and cautious than wonder where the heck I put my laptop power cord. It’s also important to get a checklist or filing system in place, that way you can cross off the hurdles as they come. Promotion? Review sites? Publishers? I have a folder for each in my email box, and with as handy as folders are, there is no excuse to remain disorganized.

For many people, writing is a job. That doesn’t mean you don’t love your job—I love writing, and while I could take or leave the rest, I have to recognize its value. And yes, you get to set the hours and determine when you’re going to show up for work, but unless you have put in the hours, you can’t realistically expect your first paycheck to be spectacular.


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