The Inside of the Writing Mind

Oh, Squiders. How do we writers ever get anything done? We cannot concentrate on any one thing. We certainly try, don’t we? We pick a project and say “I am going to work on this until it is done.” Meanwhile, we continue to work on other things outside of that. Sometimes more. Because we are all insane.

Let’s take me, today. It’s about 11 am my time. In theory, I am doing a final line edit of a YA paranormal novel so that I can produce submitting documents (query letter, synopsis, a list of agents, etc.) as my main project, after spending the last month working on short stories. I’ve been up since about eight. Here’s what I’ve done, writing wise, for the day:

  • Checked email for short story rejections. I have five stories out of the moment to various markets. Tuesday I received a very nice personal rejection from a pro market on a reprint story. Yesterday I received notification from another market that a story had made it to the final round of consideration. Today there is nothing, but something could show up at any moment! (One story has been out for almost a year. I should query that one, but I am afraid to because whenever I do, whatever story seems to be immediately rejected. I keep hoping if I wait one more week they’ll just accept it and I won’t have to bother. This is unhealthy and I am aware of it.)
  • Posted the newest sabotage on a writing game contest I’m running on one of my writing communities based off of Cutthroat Kitchen. The game is excellent and I’m a little jealous that I’m running it and not getting to play myself.
  • Wrote a long email to my co-writer on a high fantasy co-written novel that we’re working on. We’re making progress, but not terribly fast, mostly because, while we’re good on our individual characters and plots, we’re wobbly on the intersecting plot. This is the first time either of us have tried co-writing this type of story (the idea is to make a shared world that eventually other authors can also write stories in). Previous co-written stories I’ve done have been much closer on the individual parts, and myself and the other writer have alternated the writing, so we’re always in the same place. I think I prefer that, in retrospect. Won’t work with this story, alas.
  • Wrote out some plot notes for the edit of the first book of my high fantasy trilogy that I have been working on for literally half my life. The good news is that I think that I’ve got everything I need to fix all the problems with the story as is. The bad news is that I think I’m going to rewrite the book from scratch. I’ve already done that once, so I’m not ecstatic. However, seeing how the first draft was the first novel draft I’d ever finished, and that I’ve learned a lot more about editing since the rewrite (five years ago! Yikes!), it will, no doubt, be a million times better. And maybe–just maybe–finally done.

You’ll note that there’s nothing about my YA novel there. Yet. I’m a little concerned about the order of the first two chapters. Maybe I should send the first chapter to a few people and see if they would keep reading based on it. Yeeees. That is what I should do. Volunteers?

That’s just the writing stuff. I have marketing stuff flitting around in there too (like, I should set up my dang email list and figure out how to get it on my webpage) but I will spare you that madness.

Hopefully your brain is less chaotic and more focused than mine, Squiders. How’s your day been? Tips on focusing better? (Admittedly, I’m trying to just write down things for other stories as they occur to me so I don’t get too distracted with them, and sometimes that takes a little longer than planned.)

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by alekdrake on 2015/08/06 at 1:19 PM

    I shampooed my living room carpet. So I mean… you’re doing better than me.


  2. You’re involved in some interesting projects. It all gets to be a bit much sometimes. I’m the type who adds two things to my list for every one I scratch off.


  3. I do the same with short story hopefuls. I bring up my email with the fantasy of “really not looking for rejections…I’m just bringing up email.” The idea being that I’m going to be wonderfully surprised by an acceptance email. OMG! This is great sort of thing. Of course the subject line lets me know instantly that the story has been rejected. Gaaaa. And then to make things worse, I open it up to read the form letter. Your story doesn’t meet our needs…blah blah blah. You’re right it is a kind of insanity. Great post!


    • Thanks!

      My short story responses don’t typically show whether they’re an acceptance or a rejection (often they’re just “Re: Submission”) so I get to maintain hope til I open the email and see the “Unfortunately.”


  4. I would love to read it. Just saying.

    I find focusing on a single project difficult for the main reason that I get a little burned out. I find it easier to have multiple things going on because I’m more likely to be consistently productive that way.


    • Yay! You’re welcome to it. Just let me know where to send it, and I’ll email it over. 😀

      I tend to have one “main” project going, and then one or two side projects. So I might be editing a novel and still working on my serial (I’m always working on my serial–it goes up once a month) and maybe writing a short story at the same time, or doing prompt response drabbles, or working on marketing something else. I try not to be editing more than one thing at a time, though–too much concentration needed and I get spread too thin.


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