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Let It Go

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Okay, everyone. This is it. I’m proud to report that, true to my word, since my last post I have finished the second draft of my book. Not only that, but I’ve sent it off to FOUR people to read, and will soon give it to a fifth. Now I’m in the position where all I can really do is wait.

Now that I’m waiting and I happen to have some free time (a rarity, but I’m not complaining!), I’m wondering if I should think about picking up an old project. What do you all typically do during this time of waiting? I’m not sure how people feel about working on multiple projects at once. I worked for an agent once who told me that when I was reading through author biographies, I should see multiple unpublished projects as a red flag. Why would you be working on a second book when the first one hadn’t gone anywhere? Obviously you should be putting the time into the first book, to make it up to snuff for publication.

If I believed in that rule, it’s possible that I could never work on anything other than this one book, which maybe just won’t ever sell. Or maybe that’s pessimistic. I also see the point the agent was trying to make–maybe this isn’t a person who’s willing to work hard to get something right. I don’t think I fall into that category, though–I’m doing all of these revisions, am I not?–so maybe I’m in the clear there.

I’ve always been someone who multitasks, whether it’s with my writing or my work or . . . just anything, really. In middle school I used to carry around at least three books with me at all times, because I was reading them all simultaneously, depending on what I was in the mood for. By high school I got with it and knew how nerdy that made me look, so I kept the books in my locker instead of carrying them through the halls, but you see where I’m going with this. I remember in college there was a rule that we could only take one creative writing course at a time, and that was always confusing to me. Why can’t I take screenwriting and fiction writing at the same time? Why can’t I have multiple ideas for multiple stories and be working on all of it at once?

The funny thing about my book is that it really isn’t what I planned to finish first when I thought about the way I would start writing. I was actually pretty far into a different project, but I had to start a novel for my creative writing thesis at Barnard, and the young adult project I was working on wasn’t “serious” enough, so I picked up some characters I’d had kicking around in other writing assignments and started what is, now, my nearly finished book. It’s still young adult, but drastically more serious than the Meg Cabot-y, angsty teen novel I had been working on before (and which, honestly, I feel more excited about finishing).

If you’ve made a habit of reading my blog posts (bless you), you’ll know that making time to write is something that I’ve struggled with before. As a result, I’ve gotten in the habit of writing whenever I have thirty minutes or more of free time. Now that I’ve sent this book off to readers, I’m looking at my free time and feeling compelled to write, but not sure if I should be working on something else or waiting for this book to come back to me.

Like I said in my last post–I’m actually not that nervous about the comments from the readers. I’m excited to see their thoughts and to make the final changes before I take this thing to the next level, whatever that is.

So my question to all of you is this: What do you do while you’re waiting for beta readers to give you feedback? Do you prefer to work on multiple projects at a time, or to just focus on one until it is completely finished? And what’s “finished,” anyway?

P.S. The title of this blog post is a reference to my attitude about sending the book off to readers, and if anyone needs encouragement to make a move like that, I encourage you to watch this clip from Frozen. If she can build an ice castle in three minutes, you can submit your writing to readers!

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