Saturday, September 01, 2012

Downsizing My Writing Projects

The school year is about to begin, and that means my writing rhythm will once again undergo a seismic shift.  Great chunks of writing time are no longer mine.  The work must soon be squeezed into 15-30 minutes chunks at 5 AM or so on weekdays, with occasional added bursts on the weekends and after school.  I am in mourning over this change. And I face a dilemma.  I must choose between my many written "children."

Over the summer, I was able to devote time to all of it - picture books, short stories, 2 YA novels, 2 critique groups, 2 blogs, research, and a consistent stream of submitting and resubmitting.  Past experience tells me I won't be able to sustain this level of productivity during the school year.  I'll have to make some tough decisions.

I feel like a manager dealing with budget cuts and layoffs.  "I'm sorry," I will say to my short stories and picture books, "But I'm going to have to reduce your hours.  I'll let you know when I need you."  And to my wildly intriguing magical realism piece, whose plot has caused me no end of problems, I shall say, "We're going to need to put you on the back burner for a while."

I'll have to choose one project as my main focus, knowing there will be days and times when I need a break from it, when I need to go visit the other stuff to keep me fresh and engaged.  Maybe it will take me a little longer between resubmissions, though my goal is still 100 rejections by the end of the year.  And there's always winter break to reconnect with my old friends.

How do you prioritize projects when your writing time is cut back?


  1. Aha. My writing time is about to be cut back. I think it's early in the morning writing time for me.

    And trying to be more efficient. And remembering to enjoy it all. I'm in no hurry, I'll get there in the end, and so will you, Cynthia.

    1. Remembering to enjoy it is excellent advice. In the push to get out there, to build a platform and so on, it's easy to lose sight of that. And yet, when I imagine that I may never actually get published, I still want to write. Goals and deadlines are great, but the process does indeed have its own rewards. Thanks for that reminder.

  2. The same way you do, Cindy. And remembering that writing is what gives me the juice to do everything else I do.

  3. Completely on an emotional basis. Maybe I should write in a more logical manner, but instead I work on the project that I feel like working on.

    Hope the cut isn't too painful for you.



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