In which writing is a long game in a team sport

I’ve talked to several people who are surprised when I say I’m still ten months away from the publication of The Black Hour, my first novel.

This is a long game, people. Despite what you’ve heard about self-publishing, all this writing and whatnot still takes time. In traditional publishing, for one thing, you have to be worked into the existing schedule along with all the other titles the publisher is producing for that fiscal quarter.

Sounds businessy, right? Well, it is. The Black Hour used to be my project alone—imagine me wrapping my arms around my paper so no one else can see what I’ve written—and now it’s a group project.

I’ve never been very good at group projects.

Luckily, this time, I got an excellent group. To a person, they’ve been generous answering questions and letting me know how things will go.

Our project status is that I’m finishing up edits from notes from my editor. Despite the fact that these notes were seventeen pages in length, I don’t feel at all tender about this process. I’d rather get it right now, before any ink is spilled.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed as we proceed is, as I’m reading The Black Hour for the first time in almost a year, I’m getting lots of good ideas for my work-in-progress, which I’d put aside for a while to make time for these edits.

“Put aside to make time” doesn’t convey, however, how much my work-in-progress WAS PISSING ME OFF.

And now that I’m paying all this attention to its big sister, it’s got things to say. Typical.

But that’s an interesting empirical finding, don’t you think? I think it means that, while I sometimes try not to get taken up with reading a novel much like my own work while I’m trying to get the word count up, I need to re-think this policy. Maybe reading “on the side” is one of the ways I work best, letting polished work (even by own hand) feed less polished work.

BOOM. Was that your mind, blown? Mine was, at least. I was pushing reading off my plate to make room for as much writing as I could get—and then not having a very fun time writing because the ideas weren’t coming. Apparently I can’t spend all my time writing. I have to leave time for reading, or the well scrapes bottom, and the pages get awfully thirsty.

I have to make time for reading? Poor me. I suppose I’ll just have to sacrifice.

 

 

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Tommi Ferguson says:

    Read this post late but really appreciate it. My work-in-progress is beating me up and I want to set it on fire (well, the computer in which it resides). And I don’t do any pleasure reading anymore. Long game is right!

    • Lori says:

      Well, yours is an even longer game than mine! We both just have to keep trucking, but leave time to smell a rose or something once in a while.

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