Too Many Projects and Not Enough Time?

Write more. I really want to. The problem: time.

Edit more stories. I definitely want to. The problem: time.

Send out more stories. I really want to. The problem: time.

I use to quote a mentor who said, “If you really love writing, you will make time for it.” I have not stopped writing. In fact, I write all of the time, but it comes in the form of academic papers.

When there is a break, I take a moment to write. The most important writing project I have is The Adventures of Elliot McSwean. The collection of stories shows a  clumsy, curious kid, who plays outside, is bullied by his two older sisters, and never left alone by his youngest sister. He wants to be like his friend, Frank, whose parents own a French restaurant in Charlotte, but he walks like he wears two left shoes and his eyelashes constantly brush his glasses that sit too close to his eyes.

This is a character I created a few years ago with one story, and then other stories emerged. I had wanted to come up with a Middle Grades novel for this character, but it took me a long time. Finally, on the Friday before my graduate school spring break. I came up with a plot that would follow Elliot into his sixth grade year.

What is the benefit of writing a novel now?

It is simple. First, I’m not in a hurry because I have Elliot McSwean stories I will continue to try to get published.

Second, I already know the characters.

Third, I’ve done so much research on agents and publishing that I know the average size of a Middle Grades novel versus a Young Adult novel.

Fourth, after spending seven years on a novel I still believe in, Sons of the Edisto, I gained experience in editing.

It’s possible Sons of the Edisto could make money one day, but it just has not had the luck of getting an agent.

(Should I be honest about that? Absolutely, because rejection is a part of a writer’s life that should not be put under a rug or something you should be ashamed of. Adventures of Elliot McSwean: The Question was rejected by several places before it was published by two separate publications.) 

So, I took the old fashioned approach.

Write short stories. After all, I’m in grad school. I can no longer dedicate the time to a novel like Sons of the Edisto. After all, I have managed to publish a few stories also connected to Sons of the Edisto in the last three years.

So, what is the ultimate truth?

If you’re patient, the right story does come. While I began working on a memoir during my winter break, I believe that is a long term, intimate project that will take years. It will take years because there are segments of the story that are difficult to write.

So, do I have too many projects?

Just three novels. Sons of the Edisto sits on the back burner completed. Ready to Talk, my memoir about my trials and joys being married to a man 32 years older than me,  will take perhaps a decade. And, the third has been the joy and love of my writing career thus far, Elliot McSwean.

I love writing. It cannot be severed from me even if there is a short period of time in which I’m not writing what I want. As I go into my graduate presentation for my Adolescent Literature class, I remember this: there are so many good stories out there written by talented authors, who have been rejected again and again.

There will be time again.



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