Springing Ahead

Spring is definitely, finally springing in this part of the world, and man, am I glad to see the sun. This past winter was a time of hibernation for me, of figuring out what I wanted and where I wanted to go next. Of planning ahead, and trying to find a balance between timing, luck, and my abilities as best as I could.

I’ve also been trying hard to work with my brain, and not force myself when I’m not in a good headspace. This has resulted in some pros and cons, as I FINALLY got Raven Book ready to fly the nest (after some incredibly generous feedback from my CPs), and I started querying it again. But I’ve now found myself in another slump after finishing that revision, and I’m struggling to get started on my next project.

The way I see it, I have two options right now:

Option 1: I could revise Venice Book, my spicy historical fiction. (I’ve heard I can’t call it a historical romance since it’s not Regency/Victorian and not set in England…but it technically is a historical romance?) I wrote it in a fugue state in 2020, when the world was on fire, and I’ve never written something so quickly and with such a clean first draft. It still needs a solid revision though, even down to a developmental level.

Option 2: I could finally dive back into the zero draft of Heist Book and finish it. Buttt I’m struggling with nailing down the plot of the soggy middle, and getting the logistics of the heist to be both coherent and well, cool. (Heists are hard y’all!)

And yet every time I try to work on one or the other, my brain sputters and gives up.

Granted, I’ve had a fair bit going on with work and personal stuff lately, and I’ve been feeling burnt out again. But I always feel better mentally when I’m keeping up with a regular writing routine.

I still love both stories, and I think the characters in both are solid. I’ve got their motivations and backstories down pat, I’ve got general plot beats figured out, but I feel lost in a weird limbo of not knowing which direction to go in, and not knowing what I want.

I guess part of that is the knowledge that if Raven Book doesn’t succeed in the trenches, I’ll have to pivot to one of these other stories, and I want to make sure it’s as solid as Raven Book is. I’m also conscious of the fact that Heist Book and Venice Book are two very different genres (historical thriller with romance subplots, and spicy historical romance, respectively), and if either one of those were to maybe one day, hypothetically, possibly, be my debut, that would set my author brand? Which isn’t a bad thing at all, but I want to make sure I’ve got my genre expectations right, and that I’m set up to succeed with these new stories. (And that any agents I submit to are interested in all these genres.)

I know first drafts aren’t meant to be perfect, but I think I’m afraid of repeating what happened with Raven Book, where it took an embarrassing number of years to get it to where it is today. I want to approach my new WIPs in a smarter way, and not have to go through umpteen rounds of revision if I can avoid it. I want to have a stronger foundation to start with.

I do have fairly detailed outlines for my two new WIPs, so they’re already very different from the pantsed first drafts of Raven Book. But maybe that’s why working on them has also felt a little prescribed, and I can’t get my brain as excited as it was when I was pantsing Raven Book.

Basically here I am trying to work with my brain, but my brain isn’t working with me 😅

But, hey, it’s a new season, a new month, and a chance to start fresh. I really love the idea of restarting and readjusting my goals each month, even with the lunar cycles, so now that it’s a full moon again and the sun is finally back, and the flowers are blooming, I’m opening myself up to new inspiration and ideas.

I think I’ll try and focus on Heist Book for now, and then dip into Venice Book whenever I get stuck. Venice Book feels like an old friend, which really got me through a rough time in 2020 (it was rough for everyone wasn’t it? Just like 2021, and 2022, and…)

Anyway I’m hoping the motivational muse will strike me once I get started again, and I will find my way once I get started. Planning out every second of a road trip is no fun right? It’s the detours and surprises along the way that really make the trip. I just need to get moving already.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to shake myself out of my reading slump, and I’ve read more books so far this year than I have in a long time. I really needed to refill the creative well with new stories, so hopefully that will help fuel my writing too. I’ve also been lucky enough to beta read so many amazing stories by my friends lately, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings them.

What are you working on right now? What’s filling your well? It’s still a very tough time for everyone, so I hope you’re taking it easy too.

Thanks for reading.


Things I’ve been loving recently:

2 responses to “Springing Ahead”

  1. I am rooting for you so hard, Meredith! I really connect with a lot of the things you’re struggling with here (as you well know). But, I have any confidence that you’ll pull through and find a way to enjoy writing and working on your novels again. If you ever need a brainstorm dump, I’m here for you!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: