Drifting between big projects

I’m finally shopping my novel around, so I have more time to take care of the rest of my life. There’s something about a book-length writing project that shuts out too much else from the range of my attention, so I’ve decided that unless I sell this novel it’s going to be smaller creative projects for a while, like poetry, short stories, and some needlework and painting. I’m interested in art journals, at the moment, and in playing my guitar more. I’m a rank beginner, but I find music puts my brain into a completely different frequency or something, and I like it there.

While it would be easy (for some people perhaps, not me) to set a list of goals to accomplish, and stick to that set list, I’m more of a drifter. I look forward to browsing my creative urges for a while to see where they lead me. Hopefully they’ll lead into a little more organization and housecleaning. Writing a novel can really upset your housecleaning routine — if you even have one to start with, which I don’t.

9 comments on “Drifting between big projects

  1. Good luck with your manuscript. I have a short prose novel I finished over a year ago and I need to send it out to more agents. I got some positive feedback but no deal and it’s harder to do this market thing than it is to write another book.

    I like the flower design of you blog; really beautiful

  2. Sonya says:

    What a wonderful blog to stumble across – beautiful topics that resonate with me *grin*
    I hope you don’t mind but I plan on coming back to read lots more, lol!
    I recently just started a art journal – you can see some of the layouts on my blog and it was all thanks to ANOTHER blogger called Suzi BLu. Suzi seems to have inspired many web trawlers to get out and make a mess on paper ๐Ÿ˜€
    Hope this helps,

  3. Barbara says:

    Princess Haiku — Thanks! “itโ€™s harder to do this market thing than it is to write another book.” You’re so right. I like this article that suggests all that stuff about publishing isn’t so important: The joys of NOT being published. I think we need to create, as much as we need to eat and sleep. Though it is nice to get all the bills paid while we’re at it.

  4. Barbara says:

    Sonya — Anytime! Thanks for visiting and do return. Thanks for the link to your work as well as the tip about Suzi Blu’s site.

  5. Marion says:


    Congratulations! What an awesome thing, to get a book to that completion stage. I remember thinking I had done such an amazing thing, when I finished my first book. And I had. But of course, I was the only one that knew it, lol, as I just could not get motivated to send it out anywhere.

    I even told myself that if I did not submit, writing would be a hobby. And I tried…but the submission process takes another kind of mind altogether, than I’ve got. A true Piscean mind…impractical as all get out!

    But I agree…it would be nice to pay the bills.

  6. Barbara says:

    Marion, thank you! Yes, that’s where it gets tricky, being the only one that knows about it. This is my seventh completed manuscript, so the novelty of finishing one has worn off I’m afraid. No sales to publishers yet, although I’ve had some nibbles in the past. I’ve self-published two. I had a great deal of trouble getting myself to the end of this one, though, so I think enough is enough.

    I used to get more joy out of fiction writing before I began trying to make money at it, and that’s many years ago now. Joy was never an issue with technical writing, but then I didn’t start it for fun, or out of passion for the work, or for self-expression. I began doing it for a paycheck. I found happiness and satisfaction in the flow of the work, in meeting deadlines, and in doing my best at it, and it was a type of work I was suited for, which surprised even me. But I didn’t have to worry about selling technical manuals. My employer paid me every two weeks and I did as I was told, end of story. I was fine with that and comfortable doing it. I liked the solitary, independent nature of the work, and the fact that it left a part of my mind free to think creatively, something not possible in other types of jobs I’ve had. It was a job I could leave at the office at the end of the day and get back to my creative work.

    Attempting to do creative work for pay is another matter, at least for me, especially when there’s no employer telling me what’s working for them and what isn’t. Writers’ groups and workshops are great for feedback, but only to a point, since they’re not composed of the people seeking work to publish, and a book should be in a late draft anyway before it’s workshopped. With long fiction, written on spec, which it always is until you’re published, there’s all this effort up front, joyous as it may be. If you’re aware all along that you still have to sell it, and you know you detest that part of the job and have little to no control over the outcome, and when the outcome is negative time after time, the joy in it can sag quite a bit, more so as time passes. I let this go on for too long, and that was a mistake.

    I’m happiest with my creative work when I’m in a flow and creating, not thinking about anything else but what I’m doing. The business end may be fun for accountants and salespeople, or anyone who gets a thrill out of the bottom line or just the challenge of predicting a market or selling a product. I’m afraid those give me little joy, and try as I might I’ve not found a way to enjoy them, only to get through them the way I get through going to the dentist. Sure, I want to have more money in order to feel that my ends meet more comfortably and to buy things for my loved ones and myself, or to have a vacation now and then. But that connection between creation, market, and money somehow hasn’t worked out with my long fiction. I know I’ve improved my skills and storytelling ability, but it’s yet to be seen whether I’ve improved enough, and now I’ve lost my verve and nerve regarding it, and there are a lot of feelings of disappointment around it that spoil the fun for me — all my own doing because of how (wrongly) I’ve thought about it for so long.

    I’m going back to doing my best to keep creativity fun, and letting any thought of making money from it go. I’ve just finally begun thinking of writing that way again, but shorter work — poetry at the moment, mainly. I’m already a lot happier and having a lot more fun exploring activities I never took the time to in the past, and measuring their value by how much they make me or anyone else smile, or sigh, or feel something satisfying about it.

  7. Bev Jackson says:

    Hey, thanks very much for the links!~ I just ran across you by following a trail off the site meter. How kind of you.

    I’ve added you to my links too! What a beautiful site, and I wish you heartiest (and fast) luck on your book. Good on you! And yes, enjoy the poetry et al. Life is too short. Might as well get it all in–and enjoy.

    Happy holidays to you,


  8. Marion says:

    You’ve put into words so well exactly how I feel, Barbara. I wonder sometimes if when I was younger and finished my book, if I would have worked harder at the shopping around. It seemed to matter more then.

    Now, I’m just happy when I’ve satisfied myself, when I feel I have touched a creative part and let it fly. It doesn’t matter if I ever publish in paper, anymore.

    Somewhere along the line, I became satisfied with just the good feeling that comes when a piece of writing works, just for me.

  9. Jana Bouc says:

    I tried to write a novel once. I’d had a couple of essays published and thought I’d given fiction a try. I still have the package of index cards I was going to use to get started — different colors for characters, scenes, etc. I learned a lot, mostly that I’m a terrible fiction writer! Doing the marketing, whether it’s art or music or writing, is so much less fun than doing the art itself! Best of luck on your project.