Monday, June 08, 2009

Trying To Keep It All Straight

Many years ago, when I first decided to take my writing seriously, my plan was to work on one project at a time. When I sent the first one off to a publisher, I would then start on my new project.

That was what I thought writers--especially ones who wrote novels--did. But it didn't work out that way. It started when I sent out Erin's Rebel. Thinking I was done with the manuscript, until I got that contract, I started working on a new novel, the one that became Confederate Rose.

It wasn't until I was getting rejections, along with feedback that made me realize I wasn't finished with Erin's Rebel. The story needed a major revision. So, I put Confederate Rose aside to get Erin's Rebel right. And even after I finally did get that contract, there were more revisions, edits and a final proofread of the galley.

The thing is, through all of that, I kept working on that second book, so by the time I'd completed edits on the first, I had a contract for the second. And had to go through the whole thing over again. Add three short stories into the mix. I'm now working through edits on one of them and proofing the galley on another. At the same time.

And I haven't given up on new projects. While writing the first draft of one full-length project, I'm also doing revisions on another.

Add to that promo! Since my first book comes out next month and a short story in an anthology the end of the same month, I've got a lot of work ahead of me. Once work on the book is complete, the task of getting the word out about it has just begun.

My old image of being a writer leisurely working on one project at a time has been totally shattered, but I'm having a ball balancing it all.

And I never run out of ideas for the next project.


Isabel Roman said...

Haha, working on one at a time? I love it, Susan. Haha, sorry. :) I'm glad you've had such a great year, though, and isn't it all worth it to work on more than one project at once?

Susan Macatee said...

Yeah, Isabel, isn't it funny how the public perceives the lives of writers?

Meanwhile, the reality is totally insane, but absolutely worth it.

Gwynlyn MacKenzie said...

I started writing ages ago--when the publishers did the promo. Writing the stories would be my part of the partnership and all would be well.

Life put the kibosh on writing fiction for a while, and in that time the industry changed drastically.

So now we write and juggle, wearing more hats than a Regency Deb during the Season, and my dexterity isn't what it used to be.

So, no, it's not what I dreamed, but very few things ever live up to our expectations. In fact, sometimes, reality is better.

Eliza Knight said...

I used to have that image too! I can not tell you the last time I was only working on one writing project...years an years... lol

Kathy Otten said...

I was really naive. I thought I would write the book, send it off to a publisher, who would immeiately offer me a contract, then they would edit the whole thing for me while I waited for the royalties, which came right away. Maybe not quite that bad, but I never thought I'd have to juggle projects, deal with rejection,editing, marketing or promotion. Makes me tired just thinking about all I have to do each day.

Susan Macatee said...

Thanks for visiting and weighing, Gwynlyn, Eliza & Kathy!

Seems I'm not the only one who had a skewed image of what the life of a writer would be like. I think most people think that way, and I suspect when I tell my family I'm writing, they think I'm really just sitting around watching soaps and reading magazines. LOL.

Susan Macatee said...

LOL. Meant to say 'weighing in', but I guess you got that.

Anonymous said...

Susan, very funny. One project at a time was pre-contract, when writing was for me and me alone. Since attempting to make "a career" of it...I'm blogging, writing, reading, critiquing, reviewing, suggesting, and querying. On the marketing side, I'm twittering, facebooking, and trying to keep all the readers loops and messages in order.

I'm also studying; as a historical author, you never can have too much knowledge or research!

On the one hand, it's insane. On the other, the creative energy pours from my fingers--being around authors like you all really make life interesting! LOL.

Oh, to just massage one manuscript into eloquent words, with nothing else to do? Bliss.

Skhye said...

Amen... Writers write and promo. That's two jobs. Throw in the day job and AHHHHHHHHHH! I finally had to take a month off just to write. :) I'm feeling guilty. But I had to do it!

Christine Clemetson said...

I thought the same things Susan! I've been learning how to juggle more than one project too, along with promotion.


Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Ashley, Skhye and Christine! Thanks for stopping by!

And Ashley, you're right. It is an insane business. We're forced to wear so many hats along with day jobs, childcare and taking care of a house. But if you can't afford a babysitter or housekeeper, or to live off what you make as a writer, what choice to you have?

And I hear you Skhye, about taking a month off just to write. My promo days are just beginning and I've just started the first draft on the new story. Yikes!!! But I'm determined to do it all.

It's a real learning curve, isn't it, Christine? LOL.

KaiaLogan said...

I'm just stepping into the world of 'published writer', and I'm syarting to feel your pain! lol, like when you start working out at the gym for the first time in ages ;-)
I'd always heard promo was a time-consuming undertaking, but I'm really quite taken aback at everything it involves. Now, instead of dreaming of an extra hour or two a day, I'm dreaming of an extra four or five!
But I wouldn't change anything, I've never been happier.

Mary Ricksen said...

I wish you the best of luck Susan!
At least when you are busy and productive, it makes you happy. Congratulations on your sales and keep up that great attitude. It is working for you!
Those who choose to try and make a career out of writing today have a long hard road. You may never be rich, but someday many years from now, someone will pick up your book and know that you were here. You accomplished something, something that was very hard to do!

Jerrica Knight-Catania said...

I totally thought the same thing, Susan! And it still irks me when I have to stop in the middle of a new project to edit an old one - it stems from that whole "you have to put away these toys before you play with those" mentality. LOL!

Susan Macatee said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kaia, Mary and Jerrica!

And I agree, despite the total chaos, I'm happier than I've ever been in my life.

And you're right, Mary, real writers want their work to be read and to live on. It's the wanna-be's who expect to earn all that money and fame. They're also the ones who quit writing when those expectations aren't met.

Keep up the juggling, ladies!

amber polo said...

Perceptions of writers are often not very close to reality.
I've been asked if I've found an editor. If I write at the same time every day. And, more and more, people assume a book from someone they know must be self-published.
People imagine it's all new creative writing that is finished as it hits the paper or computer screen.
Wouldn't that be nice!

Susan Macatee said...

Thanks for dropping by, Amber!

You are so right. People have no idea how many hats writers have to wear.

And the majority of us are far from rich. A lucky few can actually make a living from writing.

Anonymous said...

A writers work is never done