Sunday, January 20, 2013

Letting Go of a Story and Moving On

I had a bit of a revelation recently -- a new understanding of one of the things I do that impede my writing progress. Like many writers,  I have a hard time letting go of a story.  Typically, I have three stories in progress at any given time, sometimes more, but always at least three. One is in the preliminary drafting stages, one is in the "middle" rewriting stages, and one is in the final polishing stage. For the last few years, I have been publishing one story in December and one in June every year. My inventory is dwindling, so I may not be able to keep up at that pace forever, but it's been my practice up until now.

I have found that whenever a story gets to the point that I think it's ready to launch, I find a million things I need to do besides write new content, or do the final edits, or make a cover or write the promotional blurbs for the e-book. I allow myself to succumb to the writer's biggest enemy, the Internal Voice that says "I suck," "I am out of decent story ideas," "It is stupid of me to commit so much time and energy to this process -- for what????"

I sometimes let weeks pass without writing anything new or making any progress towards readying my story for publication. I read a lot, and rationalize that writers need to read. (We do, but we also need to actually sit down and freaking write something every once in a while.) I clean my house, organize closets and clean out drawers.  I do about anything I can think of to avoid putting my butt in my chair, my computer in my lap and my heart into my craft.

Then the day comes when I know in my bones that I'm ready to let my story go.  I upload it to Smashwords, and wait breathlessly until it has gone through the conversion and vetting processes, and been accepted into the premium catalog. I have a small moment of celebration, and hope in that secret place in my heart that this story will be "the One."

Almost immediately thereafter, my creative sap starts to rise. Within days, I will inevitably begin a new story or get busy editing (or rewriting) a WIP, often I do both.

I produced hardly any usable new content between September and December 2012, because I was dragging my feet about publishing  Home in IndianaAlmost as soon as I uploaded it and finally got the cover to pass the vetting process, I came up with a new story idea. On December 22, I had my first 5000 word day in months. I am back in the saddle and excited about the new stories in the pipeline.

I'm back in the groove and happy as if I had good sense. 

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