Saturday, February 19, 2011

Clearing the Decks

Sometimes in writing, as with most anything in life, one must clear the decks of things that have stifled their creativity or taken much too much time away from the purpose of each day, which for a writer, is writing. 

Sometimes the job of clearing the decks is unpleasant, as we might have to put aside things that once meant the world to us – all in the name of productivity and yes, even sanity. 

I found myself overextended recently, committed to too many projects, with too little time to devote to each one. As I saw my time being imposed upon (self-inflicted to be sure), I decided something had to be done to prevent me from 1) burning out and 2) not producing my, again, self-imposed quota of words each day. No easy task, especially when the things I set aside had meant the world to me at one time.

Such is the way of the writing world, at least for me. I treasure every new association, every new learning experience, but, there are times when the learning casts the new association in a far different light and it is to advantage to "cut bait" as my father used to say, and seek healthier ground. 

I learned long ago to trust my instincts and to listen to the wise advice of those who know me best. With that, sometimes those little red flags that we'd all like to ignore, wave just furiously enough to remind us to stop, look and listen to our gut. The wise person does just that, despite what the heart might like us to do.
The projects I re-thought are insignificant compared to the peace of mind I have and the relief in my neck from the release of pent up tension. No more dreading the opening of my email or trudging through hours of nonsensical writing I wouldn't read under any other circumstance but obligation. A shall follow this little piece of advice - don't take on projects that will only prove to be a time suck. Lesson learned, duly noted.

I've set the agenda for this year, number one on the list is a series, Johan's Quest, which will be co-written with Bryl Tyne. I can't tell you how excited I am that he asked me to write it with him, as I respect and devour his work, and I don't mind admitting that I am a bit intimidated by his brilliance. However, in the end, I can only think about how the experience will make me a better writer and I'm all for that. 

There will also be a couple more Sapphire Club books, a couple of stories I've written and that need some Brita-izing before submission and even my first contemporary, written at the behest of Mr. Tyne. (I told you I was intimidated by him)

Yes, it will be a busy year, but in the end, I will be happy I cleared the decks for all the projects I am so anxious to dive into. Yes, Dad, cutting bait works.

Please visit my website for all the information on my Sapphire Club series - historical erotic romance.  


Dawn said...

You are so very correct!! Everyone should do the same at some point in their life. I did that a few years ago and totally started over and it was the best move that I ever made. Good Luck!!!

Bryl R. Tyne said...

Excellent post, Brita, and I'm looking forward to working on our Johan's Quest series.

H.C. Brown said...

Great post Brita. I'll look forward to reading the new series.

AllureVanSanz said...

Hi Brita!

I know exactly how you feel, and it was conforting to read someone else's thoughts, similar to my own.

Letting go is so hard sometimes. Not just of negativity of thought and people, but also letting go of stories. I wrote a YA I loved a bunch. I don't think it's going to go anywhere, so I need to put the manuscript away and go with something else, yet I find myself dragging my feet still.

I'm finding your post encouraging. Thank you so much.

Good luck on your co-work with Bryl. Can't wait to see the finished product.

All my best,

Brita Addams said...

Thanks everyone. Yeah, sometimes clearing the decks is painful, but necessary. And sometimes it takes forever to come to that conclusion.

I've had to put stories away, even completed manuscripts, for much the same reason you have, Allure.

Bryl and I are plotting and organizing every day and the writing begins this week. We love our characters and with New Orleans as the setting, it will be fun to write.

I certainly recommend clearing the decks. Baggage and worries really play with the creativity. I'm feeling rather inventive lately - so I guess it really works.