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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Writing The Next Book

You've finished your book, edited it thoroughly, and started submitting. Its time to celebrate! But then what? Do you sit back and wait for an agent to gush over your carefully prepared baby and sell it to a big house for a huge advance? *Virtual Slap!* That is exactly what you shouldn't do. Unless of course that's the only book you have in you and you have no desire of making a career out of writing. And that's okay if that's the case but this post is for those who have more than one book in them.

How long you wait depends on you. If you need a break take it. But have no illusions, to be a writer you must write. You shouldn't wait for an agent to pick you up and sell your book. That process can take years and you can write another book in the meantime. If you have research or outlining to do, start as soon as you feel up to it. I begin only days after I send off that last book. Yep, days. Writing is my crack. I cannot stop. You can wait a day, a week, a month, or longer if you have to. But don't wait forever.

Set goals and stick to them. I made several writing resolutions this year. I've already met one of them and I'm right on my timeline for the next one. That's right, I've finished a new book already this year, editing and all. It's now on my agent's desk. Believe me, I do NOT cut the editing process short to get the book out. Those of you who know me know how much I love editing. My editing process is considered in my goal timeline. Never fear though, you don't have to write and edit as fast as I do. Like I said, writing is my crack.

A book in a year is a very respectable goal. One page a day gets an average book written in a year. A page isn't much. You can accomplish that by stolen moments here and there while the kids sleep, while you're waiting to pick them up from soccer practice, or while on break at work. If you can only get a rough draft done in one year that's fine. No matter what your goal is, set it and stick to it the best you can. Write that next book! It will help keep you sane while you wait.

11 comments:

  1. Great post! This is so crucial to think of when you sit down to write "that novel I've been thinking of.."

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  2. I would go nuts if I didn't have something I was working on, though sometimes I like to change gears and work on something shorter for a bit like a short story after finishing up a novel.

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  3. Wow. I'm impressed by your goals and accomplishments, Heather. This post is so wise. We must keep going. :-)

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  4. This is great advice. I can get a rough draft done in a month if I have a good idea and work at it tirelessly, but editing....that takes much longer. Mostly because I can edit a page, set it down for a day or two and then take a look and yep...there's more to edit!

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  5. Thanks Kristi!

    I know exactly how you feel Alissa. If I don't have something to write I'm kind of nuts. I love your idea of switching gears with a short story. That's a great way to keep the mind working in different directions.

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  6. Thanks Shannon, that is so sweet! And you're right. To make it in this business we must keep going...

    Wow Olleymae I'm impressed! I don't think I could get a rough draft done in a month even if writing was my full time job. You inspire me!

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  7. Good advice - keep on writing the best books you can and let the publishing look after itself. I love the one page a day idea - it's an attainable and encouraging idea. Enjoyed this post, Heather - thank you.

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  8. Thank you James, I definitely will! I'm glad you liked the post. I keep telling a friend of mine who's writing his first book that all it takes is a page a day to finish that first draft in a year!

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  9. Great post! The day is always a brighter one when you've given yourself the gift of writing (or editing). :-)

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  10. So much brighter! I couldn't agree more Portia! Without writing my day feels as though it's missing something.

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  11. Hi, Heather! I found you at Julie Musil's blog and had to take a peak. I'm so glad I did! This post is exactly what I needed this morning. I'm in the querying stage w/ my first YA novel and have finished two chapters of a new WIP. I totally agree with what you've mentioned above. Why wait? There's no better time to begin a new project than NOW.

    If you get a spare minute, I'd love for you to check out my blog: Head in the Clouds.

    Have a great Tuesday! Tory

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