Monday, May 5, 2014

Small triumphs count

I tend to be more critical of myself than anyone. Because of that, I push myself harder. Expect more of myself. Try to be better.

Sometimes I exhaust myself too. And then I get caught in a loop of not finishing what I start, and set myself further behind. As a result, I'm overwhelmed.

Case in point: my notebooks. I actually found a few more after taking this photo. Inside are notes, scenes, ideas. Some, I'd forgotten about and finding them again was like discovering buried treasure. Add yet more stories to the WIP list!

But the thing is, I can never finish them all. I've realized that, with regret. I have to be more choosy about how I spend my time, and spend more time on the stories I love best.

Instead of opening my computer and staring at the list of folders containing all the stories screaming for attention, I home in on one.

Rather than driving myself crazy paging through all these notebooks, I open one. Maybe add a little more to the notes I already have, or maybe start transcribing.

Focus and persistence. That's what it comes down to.

I was really down these past few months because I had two stories in my head demanding I finish them. One, I'd really hoped to have a working draft of a novel for the workshop later this month, and the second I knew would be a novella. More do-able.

So these past few weeks, I focused on the shorter one. I'd been adding notes, collecting more ideas, stringing threads together in my head all year. And I'd had some crit partners read the opening chapters. When I finally applied butt to chair and fingers to keyboard, it came together. I finished. *cue the angelic choir!*

I spent another few days revising, filling in thin spaces, and felt pretty good about it. So this weekend, I let it fly into my editor's inbox.

I was very excited when she emailed back to say it sounded fantastic and she couldn't wait to read it. My fingers are still crossed. Wish me luck!

I will work on the novel, but have accepted I won't finish it. Maybe not a bad thing. Maybe the workshop will provide the direction and boost I need for it. In any case, I intend to spend as long as I need to make it the great story I know it can be.

At Daily Dose of Decadence

Today I'm visiting Decadent Publishing's Daily Dose of Decadence sharing some background on the 1906 Great Earthquake in San Francisco, the setting of my historical, Betting It All. I hope you'll pop over and say hi!

Have a great Monday!

5 comments:

Angela Brown said...

It's great that you got a chance to indulge in reading various ideas and scenes. So much fodder for building stories. And with each step you take with the stories you focus on, you're one step closer to accomplishing each writing goal you put your mind to. Good luck!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I hope she thinks it's awesome!
Wish I had that many story ideas...

Maria Zannini said...

I guarantee you'll leave the workshop feeling invigorated and inspired. There was one live workshop I attended that upped my game to the next level. I'll always be grateful for that.

And you've got a good problem. Better to have lots of great ideas to draw from than a few mediocre ones.

Cate Masters said...

Thanks Angela! Patience is not one of my virtues, lol.

From your fingers to my editor's brain, Alex. Thanks!

Thanks Maria! I've been looking forward to this workshop since last summer. I can't wait! Four days of nothing but writing, no cooking or cleaning or laundry. Ahhh.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Wow, that pile of notebooks humbles me. I know many people who would love to have the problem of too many ideas.