The Itch and The Choice

It’s raining today.  One of those depressing winter drizzles that makes you want to stay in bed under heaps of toasty covers and sleep.  Since there is no sleeping in in my immediate future today, I’m treating myself to a bowl of Scottish oatmeal (my favorite winter breakfast).  I’m feeling closer to back to normal, though still not quite up to working out (hoping to get back to some nice, easy yoga this weekend to ease back into it for next week).  Do you realize I haven’t had a full week back at work for the entire month of January?  We didn’t start back until the 4th.  I had a day at either end of the weekend of MLK day, and this week I was sick.  I’m ready to get back to normal.

Normal, for me, means writing.

No matter how much I enjoy being between projects for the opportunity to catch up on reading (and I’m enjoying the hell out of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones and salivating over my waiting copy of Larissa Ione’s Ecstasy Unveiled), I’ve got this itch.  Some of it is undoubtedly a seed of fear that I’ll be paralyzed by page fright again when I sit down to work if I take more than a day or two off.  That’s generally how writer’s block expresses itself in me.  I never have a shortage of ideas.  It’s getting the words on the paper.  Or screen, as the case may be.

But mixed in there is also this delicious, anxious sense of anticipation.  I am about to set out on a new voyage.  Well, actually the plan is that I’m to set out on a new trip to an old destination and rewrite last year’s book.  But because I haven’t actually started it yet, there’s still the possibility that I could work on something else.  The heroine of my culinary paranormal series was speaking up over the weekend.  And reading City of Bones makes me want to revisit the YA trilogy I have planned.  Then last night, as I was trying to sleep, Finn, the heroine of the second novella, started talking to me.  Which would have been really annoying, except that she’s…well, she’s funny and charming in a goofy sort of way.  She has a dark message to deliver as part of her story, but her personality is kind of bubbly.  Which is unlike most of my other heroines, who generally have some dark, awful thing in their emotional past.

When I’m in this in between place, I think there’s a part of me that wonders whether the book I have planned is the “right” book.  If it’s what I really “should” work on.  When you’re an unpublished hopeful, you always have the question in your heart, “Is this the one?”  And it’s so hard to know!  I don’t write for the market.  It’s impractical, as it takes me such a long time to produce, and market trends change in that time.  Hell, they change from the time a book is accepted for publication and the day it hits the shelves.  Paranormal is huge right now.  So is YA.  I don’t really think that’s changing, so I’m pretty comfortable with that side of things.  But what do you do when you have so many stories calling to you?  How do you choose?

The Plan (all caps, yes, that’s on purpose, because I have A Plan) is to redraft Hunted in Shadow (which I am considering retitling to First Blood)–and I’m under no illusions that it’s a revision.  It is a full on rewrite with only one or two scenes that get to stay as they are from the first draft.  In theory, because I’ve been here before, because I have spent time with these characters, it should go faster than the first draft did (I began writing the first draft in February 2009 and finished it in September 2009–and that after three months of plotting).  I’d like to shave two months off that time.  Which is doable if I stick to 500 words a day, average (though that doesn’t take into account the new class I’ll be writing over the spring and summer).  But this year, since I have proved to myself that I can bull through to the end, that I can keep going even when it gets hard and redirect myself instead of going on to sexy next book (a really bad habit, established over years, that I’ve been trying to break)–this year, I am going to allow myself some wiggle room to play.  If something new and intriguing pops up, I’m not going to put it off.  I’ll follow the white rabbit and see where it leads me when inspiration is fresh.  And then be sure to come back to the main project.

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