I’m in the midst of winter here. Chilly weather, long nights, and a real struggle every morning to get out of my warm bed and start the day. But even in my state of hibernation, I’m writing. Every. Day.
Writing every day is one of those tidbits of advice handed out like candy to novice authors. Truthfully? It’s great advice. In my own career, I’ve had short periods of high productivity followed by months of nothing. Continuing to produce every day (even at an absurdly low word count goal like 500 words a day) takes real perseverance and hard work. And it’s this practice that pays off in the long run. Even when I’m editing another project, I still aim for a daily word count.
So what am I working on? What’s coming on the horizon?
For the past couple years, I’ve consistently written, edited, and then released a project. In both series, I started with one idea for one book and through the process get the idea for the next and so on and so forth. I didn’t start out with a master plan for the series but have been happy to let the characters develop and drive where I go in telling their stories.
Over the summer, I hit a roadblock just as I left for the conference in San Diego. I was working on the short stories and then… That was it. I had no ideas, no plans, I’d hit a wall.
When you come up against writer’s block, I think a writer’s conference is exactly the place to go. At my first workshop of the day, a publisher was handing out papers with the kinds of stories they were interested in. I glanced down at the paper, scoffed, and immediately stuffed the paper into the very bottom of my purse.
I didn’t write anything that they were interested in. The stories I tell didn’t fit into anything they described. Unless…
As much as I tried to fight it, I kept pulling the sheet out of my purse, unfolding it, and reading through the descriptions. I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge. And within a day, I’d come up with the rough outline of how I would write one of the stories they wanted. Or rather, how to put my spin on what they were looking for. I discussed my ideas with my critique partner (in person! an amazing treat) got home, finished up the work I had outstanding, and started my new series.
Where I’m at right now is the tail end of the project. I envisioned a story with a mystery underlying each of the three books. Each book has a happily ever after for the main couple and then the attention shifts to the next before everything is tied up in the third book (of course leaving the door open for a new spin-off series). I’ve been writing and am now getting started on editing.
I’m actually going to “shop” this series around (ie submit it to a few publishers). I love self-publishing and plan to move ahead with the series on my own in the fall if it’s not picked up. But I think working with a publisher on this project could be very exciting.
So…over the past year I’ve been fairly consistent about delivering new stories to you. Now, however, you’ll notice the lag. I’m just starting to work out the next two True North full-length books, aiming for summer release dates. But don’t worry, I’m hard at work to bring you new content soon!