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?
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