Thursday, August 09, 2012

My writer's journey: Starting Fresh

Last week, I came to the conclusion that I'd make my writing success too high a priority in my life.  God called me to be a wife and mother, and I've let what should (for now at least) be a hobby consume my time and energy beyond what it deserves.  So the question is, what to do now?

Well, many of you probably won't be surprised to learn that my first goal is to cut the clutter.

I have a lot of writing clutter--promises to other writers, reviews to request, follow-ups to pursue, interviews to apply for...  My to-do list last Thursday was 125 items long, some of the tasks nearly a year old.  It's like the closet where you stick stuff in case you need it someday.

So I resolved to do no more writing until I had killed that list fully.  I have read books for endorsements, critiqued stories, followed up on marketing leads, and sent replies to friendly business e-mails that I flagged to do when I had more time. 

I also followed up on submissions that have been sitting on editors' desks.  Mot of these were second follow-ups and had been sitting for six months or more.  I've decided to do a 3-3-3 method from now on:  follow up once in 3 months, a second time 3 months later, and count it a loss at 9 months.  I need to face facts: if my stories were so impressive, they would not languish so long.

I prepped review requests for all my books and have them in the drafts folder to send out one a week.  Once I've cleared the backlog, I can start sending them out as they happen.

I also deleted a lot because they'd been put off too long, or I found with my new attitude that I didn't have the time or energy to pursue them in light of what I figured are the returns.  In the past, I was willing to try a lot of new things; now, I'm going to be more particular.

This was not an easy process.  Sometimes, I shed a few tears when a task would remind me again of how I have not achieved the sales success I'd hoped to.  But with those tears and the accomplishment or deletion of the task, I healed a little.

I'm down to 27 tasks, some of which I cannot handle because they need to be addressed in later months, and some of which are writing opportunities.  My parents are visiting this week, so I'm holding there to hang out with them and do some household tasks.  (Monday, I'll tell you about the chair we reupholstered for Liam.)

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