See that chicken running around without a head? That’s me.
The last week or so has been…odd. I’m used to my professional life being hectic and disorganized, a million things to do and getting distracted from all of them by the ringing of the phone.
I’m not used to this feeling carrying over into my personal life. Or, I should say, my writing life.
I’m coming up on some deadlines (some self-imposed, others not) and while I thought I had everything all set out in a nice, linear fashion, I find I’m backtracking, procrastinating, and jumping off on tangents.
I didn’t used to be like this. At work, I prided myself on my ability to refocus on the task at hand after the phone rang. However, that was before the phone kept ringing. And ringing. And ringing (the call center’s been a little busy for the last nine or so months.)
The deadline for the RWA’s San Diego chapter’s contest, Spring Into Romance (SIRC), is approaching: March 16th. First 25 pages, with the finalists in the paranormal category (of which there will be 4) being judged by an editor at large for Random House. I’ve decided to enter Finders Keepers, and I was all set this morning when I discovered that when I downloaded the finished product from the Google Doc it was in and reformatted it in a Word document according to the contest rules, my 25 pages turned into 29. Now I’ve got to find another stopping point earlier in chapter 3 that still makes sense and makes the reader want to at least finish the chapter.
I’m trying to wrap up the first round of edits on Not About Love so I can pitch the first three chapters to Entangled before their call for submissions goes dark. They’re close to rounding out their 2012 catalog and while they’re still looking for submissions for 2013, it’s mostly requests for YA.
The early-bird deadline for the Writer’s Digest fiction contest is May 1, and I’m still waiting on feedback from three of the five people I sent the story to. I can easily edit it with the feedback I’ve gotten, but given that my friends have been bugging me for months to let them read something, you’d think they’d have responded a little quicker. And frankly, the more feedback, the better, because I tried something a little different this time around: cramming 25 plus years into 11,000 words. I have no idea if I succeeded.
And in between all this I’ve been cheating and writing out scenes, or parts of scenes, for what I hope will be the novel length of War Heroes. Then, just today, I thought of editing the first 25 pages of Shadowhunter, possibly writing a brief prologue, and submitting THAT to the SIRC as well, if they allow more than one entry per category per contestant.
The only thing I’ve done so far in the last week, and can consider it a completed task, was come up with a new name for the third book in the Shadowdemon trilogy: Shadowarrior. I’m ashamed to say I actually had to use a thesaurus to look up synonyms for “fighter”. The word was staring me in the face the whole time. As the BF would say, I’m a derp.
I need to find my groove. Only a few days ago I set out my plan of attack: finish Finders Keepers for the contest (I thought I’d done that this weekend, but noooo. Stupid Google Docs). Finish the first round of edits on Not About Love. Write the query letter for Love. Complete the edits for War Heroes and get it back to my mother for one last read through before I ship it off. Then, and only then, would I allow myself to pick between diving back into editing Shadowdemon again, or finish piecing together A Lesson in Vanishing.
I hate editing. I think that’s why I’ve been so distracted. It’s just not as interesting as the actual writing of the story. There’s nothing more to discover, really, only flesh out because you realize that not everyone can read your mind and infer what wasn’t said. Also, the internet is very distracting. I keep checking my email, and Craigslist, and TVLine.com, and IMDB…you get the idea. I should do the smart thing and convert to Word, so I don’t have to have a browser window open, except that wouldn’t deter me from surfing the interwebs.
But I’ll soldier through it somehow.
After I check my email one more time.
*image via suzannemcleod.blogspot.com