Warning: this is a no-edit zone…
Why is it that it’s always feast or famine? In life, but specifically in writing. Either you’re rattling your brain trying to find just the right elements and events and characters to people a story that’s driving you distraction because you’re not yet writing it, or you’re nailed to the keyboard with so much to do you doubt you’ll see sunrise or sunset except in the reflection of your computer screen for the next two months.
There is no happy medium. Why is that?
I have no idea. But I do know it’s true.
The current work-in-progress is one I’ve waited a long time to write. A very long time. I couldn’t work it into my schedule in a way that I could write it from start to finish, and because it’s different than my previous works (which are often different than my previous works), I felt it was important to the integrity of the work and to staying consistent in voice and tone to write through a first draft, working solely on it. No chapter here and there. Not on this book.
So I waited and waited. And finally, now, I have the break. And suddenly I’m flooded with new ideas. The synopsis is done. I LOVE it. It’s a harsh, gritty story, but one with purpose that burns so strong it’s captivating me. This is a good thing. A great thing. So why is it that I leave my desk to refill my coffee cup and in the time it takes to mix up one mug of Cafe Francis, I get a full-blown idea for a new series–and all six novels that go in it?
They’re YA novels, too. Now, I’ve written a lot of different types of books in my life, but YA isn’t among them. I’ve never considered writing YA. And yet in the space of one minute and forty seconds–the time required on the microwave to heat a mug of water–a series of six books, all peopled, plotted, and set is born.
And the kicker is I know I MUST write them.
Now, I’ve had this happen before, where a novel comes to me and it’s just there. One second, a blank slate. Next, second, the slate is full and I’m scratching notes on the wall to keep up. But those have always been on the types of books I was writing at the time. They’ve never been outside my sphere, so to speak. Granted, it’s a broad sphere; my interests are many and I’ll try most anything. But this is a surprise. I don’t typically “think” YA.
And yet I can see merit in the books. I can feel purpose thrumming through them. I can sense the nudge that these could matter and make a difference. So how can one turn away from that? Why would a writer who lives to serve and works only with love and purpose turn away from that?
All year, I’ve been focusing on working smarter not harder and loosening up the schedule a bit so that I have some down time. I had a couple days scheduled during August/September but ended up having minor surgery, so that doesn’t really count as down time. Just this morning, I looked at my To-Do list and I was so proud because for the first time in three years everything on it fit onto one page. I should have known then.
I’m not complaining. Actually, I feel as blessed as only one who’s known famine can feel. With the types of books these are supposed to become, they’re important to write. I am honored that I was chosen to do this work.
Now I just need to trust that the stamina and endurance to do them comes with them. That, or I’ll be burning a lot of midnight oil for the next year…