SPRING CLEANING MY WAY TO THE SPARKLING PATH AHEAD by guest Jenna Night
The only way to survive the crazy business of being an author, is to find amazing writer friends who support you, commiserate with you, and celebrate the triumphs with you. Jenna Night and I have been each other’s support system for a long time. We started writing about the same time, started querying about the same time, and sold our first book about the same time. (There was much celebrating! 😉 ) Her amazing debut book LAST STAND RANCH just hit the shelves, and so I invited her to come and spring clean with us here on See Jane Publish this month.
Join the spring cleaning conversation in the comments below for a chance to win a signed copy of LAST STAND RANCH!
My first novel, Last Stand Ranch, is on the shelves. Even though I’m still celebrating, I feel a little bit like I normally do around noon on New Year’s Day. I’m trying to make some meaning of what’s just passed while looking to see what’s coming up next. And because my life kind of exploded around the middle of February, I’m looking at quite a mess.
But instead of confetti and streamers and popped balloons, I’m surrounded by overstuffed binders and scraps of paper covered with brilliant ideas I was afraid I would forget. (‘End of the drive.’ I found that one on a scrap under a couch cushion. What does it mean? Where was it supposed to fit into my story? Beats me.) I’ve also got pictures torn from magazines and crumpled calendar pages with varying word-count goals on them. I ‘adjust’ those a lot.
So yeah, some spring cleaning and getting organized is definitely in order. But I’ve learned over the years that being a writer is a messier gig than you’d think, so I’m less concerned with getting everything perfectly organized and more concerned with kicking a path through the junk so I can get to the next book release celebration. In hopes that it might help somebody else, I’d like to share some of the things I want to ditch and some of the things that actually served me pretty well. So, without further ado…
STUFF THAT’S GOT TO GO!
Obsessing over typos in social media. I’m late to the public social media game which makes me nervous enough to begin with. I proofread my tweets or comments, but stuff gets out there with mistakes. It’s going to happen. No more thinking about it all day long.
Believing every other author but me has everything figured out. I know better now. I’ve met lots of authors over the last year, some of them very successful, and it turns out their careers are a work-in-progress, too.
Fretting about sales trends. Enough with the predictions of the next hot genre or the next dead one and worrying about where my book fits in. I pay attention but I don’t obsess.
Short-term thinking, as in ‘this one book is going to make or break my entire career,’ is a recipe for useless stress. Long-term thinking makes more sense. Several books make a career.
Trying to match somebody else’s writing pace doesn’t help. I have to go with the writing pace I can maintain while still being happy with what I’ve written. Fast or slow, writing takes as long as it takes. Until you have a solid deadline. Then you might have to hurry up!
THINGS I’M KEEPING TO GET ME TO THE NEXT CELEBRATION.
Timed writing sprints. The first time I saw people doing these I thought they were nuts. But you know, they’re very effective for turning off the inner critic and getting past the feeling of being blocked. Twenty minutes, ready-set-go. Just write something about your story. Anything. It might take a couple of rounds, but the thread of a good idea will come through. Then you can take it and run with it.
Getting used to the idea that there’s always something more to do. I never complete my writing to-do list anymore. I put stars by the things I really have to get done today and then I do what I can.
I’m keeping my basic writing process, but trying something new with each book. This time it’s deeper characterization in the first draft. And maybe I’ll stick to my original word-count goals this time. You never know.
My spiral bound notebooks with the kittens on the cover are staying. Writing with pen on paper sometimes gets the words flowing better. And cats are cool.
And I am most definitely keeping my lunch dates with my writer friends. Even if we have to re-schedule a million times. They help keep it fun and keep me going.
Jenna Night was a finalist in Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense 2014 The Search for a Killer Voice! contest. She lives in the Inland Northwest with a house cat who appears to believe she’s a Bengal tigress. You can find her (Jenna, not the cat) at JennaNight.com, on her Facebook Page, and through her Twitter profile.
For a chance to win a signed copy of LAST STAND RANCH, please tell us your thoughts on spring cleaning in the comments below. (Winner will be picked on Sunday 3/27 at 8 pm PST.)
Posted on March 23, 2016, in Auth: Asa Maria Bradley, Auth: Special Guest and tagged Debut, Harlequin Love Inspired, Jenna Night, Last Stand Ranch, romantic suspense, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.