What to do, what to do …

My word count sucks lately.

My foray into the realm of NaNoWriMo which started off with fireworks, ended with a whimper when my Dad had his stroke. Add in my mother who is the quintessential agony aunt who sucks my writing time away with each phone call, Christmas, horrible weather that throws a snowstorm every time I needed to drive anywhere…well, you’ve got the picture from my whining so often. Suffice it to say, I’ve been under a lot of stress and my writing’s been suffering as a result.

Not to say that I’ve not written anything in the last three months. I’ve written about 30K more on AIE, thanks to the Kick in the Pants challenge, completed a 15K story and submitted it to a publisher, but that is WAAAAY below my normal output of 2K a DAY that I was achieving this time last year.

Now that my father’s finally find a place in a nursing home, and the phone calls from my mother *keeps fingers crossed* seem to be lessening, I’m able to turn my attention back to my writing.

Yesterday I read Amy Ruttan’s blog about how she’d joined up for Sven’s 70 days of Sweat and I’ve been debating whether to join in this time. I need to have a reporting structure – something to force me to focus, make me report and keep my momentum.

Trouble is, I’ve got one manuscript (Delving Deep) out with an editor that I’ve been polishing and have been debating rewriting the start to make the heroine appear stronger. Or at least review the whole ms and make sure the darned thing is polished to perfection “just in case”. Besides it really needs to be sent out to other houses rather than sitting in the proverbial drawer. I’ve got another manuscript (Private Property) that I decided to revamp it by adding a few extra scenes to it to give the characters and storyline more depth. That’s almost finished, probably another three or four thousand words to add. (That’s what I’ve been working on this week, except I find I keep tweaking the words I’ve already written rather than moving forward on the danged thing.) And then I’ve got the story I started for NaNo -An Inconvenient Enemy (working title only at this point) – fully outlined, characters figured out, experts at my beck-and-call for fiddly archeological details, and the first couple chapters written. (I’m not even going to consider a couple of other projects – sequels to DD and PP – that I’ve outlined but haven’t put a lot of time into as I figure I should sell them first.)

So I’ve got plenty of things to keep me busy.

What’s my problem, you ask? If I join 70 Days of Sweat and work on AIE – which I really do want to focus on – I won’t have time to focus on editing/polishing Delving Deep or Private Property which are projects I started on before AIE.

My mother taught me that you shouldn’t start a new project until you’d completed the last one. (Probably because my father never finished anything he started, but that’s a different story.) When I was professionally sewing for an embroidery designer, I’d usually have four projects ‘in my stash’, so if one got boring or frustrating I could turn to another. But writing – well, writing is different. Writing I need to get into the characters heads. I write my best when I’m so into the story that I’m actually dreaming of them and they’re dictating the scenes to me. Obsessive, yes, I’m sure a psychoanalyst would have a field day with me, but that’s when I feel I do my best writing.

So tell me – how do you determine what to work on? How many projects can you work on at once? Have any tricks of how to work on a new story while editing an old manuscript?

(By the way, the pic is of design called Renaissance Lace by a Canadian designer called Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler. The open thread pieces are called ‘Hardangersom’ based upon a style of embroidery used in Hardanger Finland. The middle roses are silk embroidery. )

Some days I wish I stuck to sewing, LOL.

5 thoughts on “What to do, what to do …

  1. How do I decide??? I haven’t figured out that yet, I work. I just work and I haven’t figured out to determine what to work on. I just work.

    I know that’s annoying I just don’t have an answer because my brain is all Fuzzy and Blue ;)

  2. I wish I had something constructive to offer, but honestly Leah – my productivity is on the sucky end of pathetic and I’ve got about 12 irons in the proverbial fire, none of which are anywhere close to being ‘warm’.
    Ack.
    I’m signed up for the 70 Days of Sweat, but I’m flying up to T.Bay to visit my mom (who is sick and due to come home from the hospital tomorrow) so chances are I won’t get the BANG start I was hoping for on March 1st.

    Good luck, no matter what project you decide on :)

  3. Amy: And now I’ve visited your blog I’ve got the fuzzy blues too! Thanks a LOT!

    Wylie: I’d say I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one on the ‘sucky end of pathetic’ (I love that phrase, though I don’t like having to admit it’s true) I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Hope everything goes okay for her.

    I was on a roll this afternoon when I got two calls from my mom, followed by a call from my Dad who was getting frantic and I had to run down to the nursing home to calm him down. So best intentions and all … still I really want to get moving on something.

  4. Oh no! I always have several projects going at once. I do really well when I’m really moving on something, but I need to have something else to pop over to when that one slows down. It seems that I have several muses rather than just one and if I can get them to cycle instead of politely taking turns, I can be much more productive.

  5. i think that many people are going through a crappy time right now when it comes to writing….

    i hope that you get back into the groove

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