Career Planning: Chaos into Order

Nocturne rejected Gypsy. That little scrap of info was in the last email from the ex-agent, who only had nice things to say about my manuscripts. She thinks I should continue to try to sell them and one of her suggestions was to add to Gypsy to make it single title instead of category, which I was already sort of plannning. Way down the road.

Maybe it’s the state of my messy desk reflecting the utter chaos of life in general and writing in particular today, but I feel the need for quicker action than starting rewrites on a paranormal saga. I have lots of ideas and enthusiasm for this project, but I sense a  large-ish investment of time there, probably six months or so. Meanwhile, I have other books I want to get into the world. Which of those to tackle first?

One thing I regret about the time spent with this agent is that I got out of the habit of planning my own career. I let someone else take over, and was grateful for it. (Would have been more grateful had she sold a book…) But bottom line, it is now time to career plan myself again. Reorganizing my dream of publishing a novel seemed daunting this morning. I would have much rather tackled my messy desk, because it’s easy. I’ve done it a million times.

I like things fairly organized so I clean off my desk at least once a week. It takes almost no time. I look at what I have, figure out where it goes, and then file things away, everything in its place. Soon, there is order out of chaos. So I sort of did the same thing with my writing. I developed a book-by-book plan. It’s not a perfect plan. It was for about a minute, until I thought up reasons why particular actions might not work. But it’s a good enough plan because it gives me clear forward momentum.

What I have: five manuscripts in various stages of chaos. I ordered these into “quickness quotient” just like I do stuff on my desk. What’s finished and obvious and ready to be put away? Clear that first.

The Paris Notebook is revised and polished to perfection. It’s entered in a big contest. I can base agent queries on that one. Heck I can write a query today! Not my favorite task, but it has the compelling quality of quickness.

Blue Heaven is category length. It probably only needs one revision and one polish. I can do this in a couple of months and send it to Harlequin without an agent. Might get the usual rejection, but who knows? Maybe this one will be the book to turn the tide.

Which leaves Embellishments, Gypsy, and Traveling Girl. I’m thinking of  Gypsy and Traveling Girl now as one book: Traveling Girls. I’d like to tackle that one this spring. But depending on what happens to the other two romantic comedies, I might get inspired to work on Embellishments instead. That’s the thing with long-range plans: they need to stay flexible to allow for what happens next.

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  1. Wow. You’ve been doing some thinking!

    It can be difficult to look at your own WIPs and prioritize them – so for that I applaud you. As for coming up with an action plan, while it might change/fluctuate, you are better off for having it. Floating along with no direction can be dangerous waters for a writer.

    I think you’ve inspired me… again. *wink* Off to evaluate my own mess now.


  2. I wonder if most writers have as many unfinished mss as I do–and if this is a good or a bad thing. I’ve been kind of frozen for a week and not writing so hope this battle plan gets me going again. I did draft a query today. So that’s something…


  3. that really sucks about the agent and the rethinking that now must be done. I recently just got offered representation from an agent and I’ve felt like that’s the hardest part just to get to this stage, but now I realize that not only do you need to get the agent they actually have to SELL your book.

    I admire you for all the writing you have done and how creative you are though. I hope I will continue writing while I wait to see what happens with my current novel.


  4. Okay, Cindy – here’s confession time.

    I have:
    Elemental Gateways [completed… sort of]
    Not Anymore [in first edit]
    Coming Home [1/2 way thru 1st draft]
    Finding James [Just started]
    Self-Help [Just started]

    That’s not counting the plotters running around that are just a blurb on paper so I don’t forget them.

    Every writer I talk to has several WIPs going because we just can’t help ourselves. *grin*


  5. I like your process. I have been encouraged to write down goals, even if they change I have been told it’s important to get something down on paper. I have been reluctant, I have delayed, I have done everything but…which includes cleaning off my desk. You moved past what was easy and started in on what you needed to do. That’s inspiring.


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