I wish there was a word that meant “being where I am supposed to be”.
April 1st I sent out Creampuffs (as I mentioned, the threat of embarrassment is potent). It beta-launched! People were excited to read it! I was on the moon (or at least I would have been if I hadn’t been in bed with a two-day migraine). Somewhere in orbit, anyway.
But after the excitement of the launch (and migraine) wore off, I was left wondering: now what?
See, I feel good about Creampuffs, even though I tried and failed to write a rom-com. But in doing so I wrote something quirky and weird that I’m really proud of, and–for once–it was the story I had in my head, evil condo developers notwithstanding. I’m looking forward to eventually sending it out to agents (once I consolidate beta-readings, of course) with something akin to confidence.
My original plan was to leap back to Embers while Creampuffs circulated.
But then I wondered: was I avoiding a significant piece of advice (picked up from various mentors online and in meatspace)? Namely, that you “shouldn’t send out a story until you start the next”. That way, you’re less attached to the one you’re sending. Rejections become easier. Criticism is easier. It’s not built up in your head as a be-all of your accomplishments.
I’ve followed this advice since I began sending short stories out, and I think it has merit. But Creampuffs represents a significant departure for me, not just in genre. It’s not Victoria Feistner’s next novel, it’s Michaela Mowbray’s and MM only has the one novel to her name. What about The Advice? How does that apply?
As you can imagine, this is a topic that lends itself to a lot of overthinking.
I decided that I would take the rest of April to work on various outstanding shorter works, and make up my mind about whether to return to Embers or to tackle a new non-genre novel to heed The Advice. At first, things seemed to go well: I finished re-editing Northern Portents, and even considered going back to type up Perceptions (aka Vampires in a Mental Hospital) since ViaMH has been languishing in a journal for many years now and could benefit from my newly leveled-up Editing Skillz.
But then I started fraying at the seams. Losing spoons. Small irritations became large problems. I was crabby. Constantly. Everything took twice as long as it should and I felt like I was never getting anything done, no matter how many items I crossed off my to-do list or my calendar.
You probably know where this is going.
I scheduled time to work on Embers several times but the aforementioned crabbiness and lack of spoons kept pushing it back. Other projects soaked up the time. I made excuses.
But then yesterday (the 19th, or 18 days after I should have) I sat down at my writing desk and brought Embers up to re-read. 60K of text, not including copious amounts of notes of where the plot might go next (hey, look, I’m learnding!). It’s not bad! I mean, it’s a draft 0. It’s bad. But there are glimmers. More importantly, that feeling of excitement–to find out where the story is going next–sparked into a flame. Even though I didn’t do any actual writing yesterday (I need some time to let the reread percolate) I felt accomplished. Of being where I was supposed to be.
The rest of the day I checked off items from my list with ease. Kept my temper in check. Slept better. Today too.