Lesson #37 from finishing my first manuscript: Try to find that balance.
Accomplishing anything effectively is about balance. Finishing the first draft of The Warden of Everfeld: Memento over the last few months was a bit tiresome. I had not met my monthly writing goals since the end of NaNoWriMo 2015, and I was constantly falling behind – according to my own exceedingly high standards. I just wanted it done, but I didn’t always have the motivation or the willpower to just sit down and write.
I became disappointed with myself for not trying harder to achieve my own goals, and then discouraged from writing at all. It was an endless cycle.
But, ultimately, I did finish the manuscript, albeit a bit hastily. My frustration pushed me to it, and I am happy with the current, non-revised result. I also know now that my approach for the second draft must be different.
Participating in NaNo over the last two years has shown me what is possible when I become singularly focused; I can churn out 50,000 words in 30 days from mostly loose ideas and half-finished outlines. But I can’t write 1,500-2,000 words every day – not if I want to share my time with the other parts of my life… Future Wife, friends, my dog, (also Netflix).
It’s about balance, and I think I have found mine. Expecting to write 2,000 words per day is unrealistic, but only writing 500 words in a week is unacceptable, for me. So, when I dive back into the second draft of The Warden of Everfeld: Memento, I will know what my own expectations should be.
Balance in the Manuscript Void
Ever since shipping my manuscript off to my alpha readers, the real challenge has been in filling the massive void in my life with other writing projects. I figured that continuing to hone my writing chops on something other than WoEM will keep me sharp when it comes time to revise it again.
Enter: Five on the Fifth‘s Short Fiction Contest
Five on the Fifth is a great, relatively new online litmag specializing in fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. They publish five short fiction submissions on the fifth of every month. Go read them. (Full disclosure: I’m friends with one of the editors, but she doesn’t know I’m pumping up their site.)
Then, check out the link to their Short Fiction Contest. The deadline is August 31, and the word limit is 1,000-4,000.
I currently have about 1,000 words of a short story that’s been in my head for a few years. The story is set in the same fictional universe as The Warden of Everfeld, but in a totally different time/place (world building!). I plan to have it crafted and submitted by August 31, and (hopefully) published come November.
Nervous? You bet I am. This will be my first real submission to a real publisher. But I’m also excited to have my work critiqued by some real live writing pros. According to my new, balanced writing goals, this is the perfect project to flesh out in the next few weeks.
Anyone care to submit a piece with me?