OK, I confess, this month I am not posting a well-thought-out piece of wisdom on the writer’s craft. Instead I’m flailing around the night before my post is due, trying to string together something meaningful. I thought of asking Harry to write this for me, as he’s provided a WU post before on the vexed topic of deadlines, and how the life of a writer’s dog becomes less comfortable the closer they get. But for reasons given below, Harry isn’t up to the job right now.
My manuscript, a historical fantasy/mystery, is due for submission in January. It’s progressing well but I have a sizeable percentage of it still to write, and I’m not speedy. Usually I have time to finish the novel, set it aside for a while, then polish further and submit before the deadline. This time around, there’s a lot left to write and just over a month remaining.
Yes, I’m an experienced pro. And I’ll get it done. But I’m not happy about my poor time management on this particular novel. I need to learn from the experience and make sure I don’t let it happen again. Some things I can avoid next time; some, sadly, I will need to build into future plans.
Side projects: When I’m asked to contribute a piece to an anthology, or to present a workshop or attend a writers’ event, I find it hard to say no. This year I wrote a short story for an anthology about strong women in history; it was a project I was thrilled and excited to be part of. My story about Hildegard of Bingen was only 5000 words, but it took a long time to craft – distilling Hildegard’s extraordinary life into so few words was a challenge, and I wrote several versions before I felt I’d got it right. I also presented some talks and workshops, though I managed to say no to a couple, knowing how much preparation I generally need to do.
Learning: next year, say no more often. Only take on the projects you can’t bear to let pass by.
Work-related travel and appearances: [Read more…]