If you’re going the traditional publishing route, and you’re not quite finished with you manuscript, you may think it’s too early to do anything but write. At some point, you may get discouraged and think you’ll never finish the story, let alone go through the necessary editing and re-write stages and then look for an agent who will do a stellar job of representing you. Throw in building your writer’s platform, and you very well may start to wonder how your creative outlet turned into such a drag!
Early on while I was just starting out writing Oldsters, I experienced these feelings. After knowing myself well enough to go ahead and throw out any of the so-called ‘rules’ I’ve read over and over, I’ve developed a system that keeps me engaged and excited as I work toward finishing the last part of my novel.
Here’s my 4-step process that keeps me smiling through the toughest days. It’s my hope that you can take perhaps just a nugget of this and bend/twist/yank to fit your own needs:
Writing: Obvious…I carve out as much time as possible, but I also include in this part not just the actual writing but the inner brainstorming I do throughout the day. I plot constantly when not actively writing, especially now towards the end – I look at different paths I could go and think out pros and cons of each.
Editing: Yes, I’ve edited as I’ve written. Can’t help it, don’t care! I have some editing background, so it comes naturally, and honestly it’s given me a lot of confidence to improve the earlier part of the book already. Also, if I get stuck in my writing, editing gives me an outlet that keeps me engaged in the project. I’m editing this right now! Yep, jut made a change right there in the paragraph above.
Scouting Agents: Why not? The earlier I do this, the quicker I can get it out there once I’m done with the writing/editing. Starting with the Guide to Literary Agents, then moving on to their websites lets me build my Excel tracker early on. It’s also interesting just to see who’s out there – there are some great tips about things they often find problematic with manuscripts they see…what better way to make sure mine doesn’t have that same issue?
Writer’s Platform: I have to admit, I struggled with this early on. I’ve been blogging for a couple of years, but definitely not regularly enough. Especially when I was knee-deep in writing the early part of Oldsters, I kept telling myself it was a waste of time to be blogging about what I was reading, or writing tips or my writing/photo prompts I like to do. I would go offline for months – of course that’s the worst thing to do. I’ve learned my lesson though, and continue to try and improve in this area. I also figured out that Twitter is not a bad thing…I have to say that my short time (about a month) on Twitter has really been an eye-opener. What a great writing community out there! Support, support, support! I’m a believer.
So, that’s how I’m doing it – do you have your own tips that keep you engaged in your current project? I’d love you to share them…write on!