Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Writerly Ghosts

So, last night, lying in bed after watching Glee (fabulous Madonna episode, btw) and I can't sleep. I'm tossing and turning, and turning and tossing, and tossing and turning . . . and Squeaky (my cat) is not happy at all about this tossing and turning, and turning and tossing, and . . . I just can't seem to settle down for the night.

My mind kept wandering to my writing - what I've done, what I need to do, and what I want to do. I guess the Writing Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future were whispering in my ear and preventing me from settling down for a long winter's nap. Ooops, how'd that happen? Anyhow, after much thought, conversations with myself (yes, I have conversations with myself - no, not nuts, just helps me work things out), I realized there are certain things I need to do with my writing - Past, Present, and Future.

Past - the project I want to query. It's Past because it's been pretty much finished for a while, I just haven't bothered to query the dang thing. This is the project where words must go, must go, must go. It's too dang long. It's probably in auto reject category for most agents. So, eliminate, eliminate, eliminate. This project is now - should have been there sooner - moving up on my list so that . . .

Present - finish the word elimination of the project I want to query. See how easy that was. Yeah, try being in my head last night while I was working all of this out. Not pretty, not pretty at all!

Future - revision of next project to query, and next project to query, and write urban fantasy. So, that's on my to-do list, along with a few other story ideas I've been mulling over for the last six months or so.

Present - yes, diving back in time from the Future to the Present because that urban fantasy is calling out for me to work on it. I can hear the howl of the wolves . . . or maybe its the neighborhood coyotes just trying to trick me . . . and know the project needs to be worked on in the Present rather than some undetermined date in the future.

So, what the heck does all this mean and why in the heck am I rambling on and on about it in this blog post? It means, in the chaos of my mind, I prioritized quite a few things - I believe Madonna was singing in the background Express Yourself - last night before sleep finally claimed me. I have a set order of things to do - eliminate words and write that urban fantasy (yes, Lady Glamis, I'm moving the project to the forefront).

Now, for the normally questions that appear in writerly blogs. What are your current priorities? Do the Writerly Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future ever visit you? Do you heed their eerie presence or just roll over and go to sleep? If the later, how in the heck do you do it?? What are your current projects? What do you think of the current state of publishing? E-Books? Was Wiley Coyote unfairly maligned in every Looney Toons cartoon?



Jody Hedlund said...

I'm in the middle of my WIP and so my top priority right now is writing on it every day. But my editor has also started on my line edits! For me, it's really all about prioritizing the most urgent writerly things that have to be done every day. My WIP takes tops right now. I've even put off a couple of trips until I'm done with it!

SJDuvall said...

I was going to say my biggest problem was the ghosts of my Future projects, but as I thought about it, I realized they all haunt me.

Night is the hardest time for me. I'm such a night person, no matter how little sleep I've gotten, I wake up when the sun sets. So I often have to fight those ghosts to try and get sleep. What works best for me is imagining one scene. Just choose one and imagine it again and again. Sometimes it helps if there is a problem with it and I need to figure out a solution. I usually fall asleep before I figure anything out. But then again, there are times where I figure it out and keep going (which does the opposite of lulling me to sleep). I think it's just the life of a writer...

Oh, and Wiley was definitely unfairly maligned in at least some of the cartoons. :)

Bossy Betty said...

Glad you got some things prioritized! I live by a list and it works!

Claire Dawn said...

For a long long time, I was scared of editing. So I've got a bunch of MS's knocking aorund (figuratively- because they're actually all in soft copy) and I've only just started editing the one I wrote 2 years ago.

It's kind of depressing that it's only 1/5 through and still has more rounds of edits left, but some day it will get there.

Elana Johnson said...

LOL at your questions! I totally think Wiley Coyote is treated so unfairly.

I do have ghosts haunting me about my writing sometimes. Mostly it's just me because I haven't put my butt in the chair and finished something. Or whatever.

Good luck with your writing stuff. I just started over on a WiP, and now I'm all conflicted about the POV. I hate that. To me, it's a sign that the book isn't ready to be written yet. So I don't want to force it, but I want to write it. Le sigh.

Scott said...

least for me, isn’t a good thing. I’ve also been known not to do things because I need to get writing down. I try to balance ‘no, can’t do that’ with ‘yes, no problem’ so people don’t think I’m antisocial.

SJ – I think you nailed it with ‘they all haunt me’. I’m always thinking about the projects – past, present and future – and just trying to decide what needs work the most. I’m glad you agree about poor Wiley. I think he should have at least gotten to catch the Road Runner a few times.

Bossy Betty – I have lists galore, but normally misplace them. Ha! I’m normally pretty good – just not lately – about sticking with one project from start to finish, with breaks in between to create distance. I haven’t been doing so good with that lately. Oh, well, such is life.

Claire Dawn – I have quite a few MSs ready for the revision process. A few of them were written in the in-between stage of the various drafts of one project since I always step away from a project once I finish the revision of a stage – rough, first, second, third, etc. The good thing – there’s always something to revise/edit. The bad thing – there’s always something to revise/edit. Ha!

Elana – I’m glad I amuse you. I just thought I’d throw in a few odd questions to see if people were paying attention. They obviously were. I’m with you on the ‘haven’t put my butt in the chair’ thing. I can’t seem to find the motivation lately. Perhaps my subconscious was trying to let me know that last night. I think it worked. I hope it worked. It better have worked for as long as it took me to fall asleep last night.

Imola said...

The ghosts, you say? Yes...they do come and visit, yet offer no solution, and no images...they are too lazy!

Lady Glamis said...

Ack! Too many questions! Hehe. Yes, I'm visited by the writerly ghosts all the time. I deal with them in different way depending on the day. I'm not going to query for a long time, so nothing seems extremely urgent at the moment, but my present project is super fun. You already know that. I'm glad you'll be starting on yours. :)