I spend a lot of time creating goals and planning because the return on investment is exponentially great. Setting my intentions keeps me motivated. It also gives me a system of checks and balances that keeps me from getting overwhelmingly negative should I fall short (which happens frequently) of the goals I’ve set. Having plans allows me to assess what didn’t get done by a certain time and reevaluate where that thing can be taken care of going forward. All of this was important this week as we celebrated both of our daughter’s last days of school and the start of summer vacation.
This week I took time to inventory my stories. I created an archive folder for stories that I have no plans to work on in the next few months and an ‘Ideas in Progress’ folder for all of those stories that are not set aside, but are also not currently being worked on. I combined the two manuscripts into one, worked on critiquing my peer critique partner’s manuscript, and completed some other odds and ends of business related to-do’s. I also dove back into SB for revisions.
I received some valuable feedback from the NESCBWI conference about the first few chapters of SB. I sat down with the feedback when I first got back from the conference, and digested what was said and what I thought about it. I knew, as I did then, that I was going to want to make a big revision to the first chapter, but I wanted space from the feedback and the event to digest and decide how I was going to move forward. I forced myself (well, was suggested at forcefully to stop procrastinating and just do it) to do the revisions to get the query out and started revising that chapter. To get it done, I remembered a revising activity I did in one of my college courses where a professor asked us to bring in copies of poems we were working on. We walked into class to find many pairs of scissors waiting, and were told to cut our poems apart and piece them back together. (Thank you for the exercise Dr. Ahl– it was awesome to recall this terrific and terrifying exercise fifteen years later. 😁) I took that approach in revising chapter 1 of SB, surgically removing the pieces from the chapter that belonged but needed to be put back together in a different way. The result is a MUCH more powerful beginning to the story that illustrates my main character better and introduces who he will be more effectively. It teases out that space where the reader is given more information, but left with more questions to answer. This week I plan to continue working on revising SB. Last time I visited this manuscript, I revised the end of the story. Now that I’ve revised the beginning, it will be about working through the middle to tie the story back together more elegantly.
How are your projects going? What are you working on right now?