Monday, March 5, 2012

The Problem with Being A Far Thinker (as a writer)

Ever since I was a little kid, I've loved to know What Was Going to Happen. I would plan my future career and spend hours finding the best colleges to attend and all the classes I would sign up for. I had a strategy mapped out for grad schools, internships, and meeting Mr. Right. I knew how many kids I wanted to have, how far apart they'd be born, where our family would live, and what my work-life balance would look like.



Guess how many of those careful plans actually panned out in the way I imagined?

Yeah. None of them.

Still. Guess what old habit is dying hard in my adult writing life?

Like most of you writers out there, I dream of getting published. I know full well that's never gonna happen unless I work my tush off to get there. Yes, that requires a lot of work and careful planning. I've had self-imposed deadlines for drafting, strategies for sending to CPs, a carefully structured method and schedule for when I would send my queries, and to whom.

Now that the queries for ONE are out, I've started on the next WiP. And, as you may have guessed, I have a plan for when I'll start querying that one.

That's right. I'm planning my query process for a new novel before my currently querying novel is in the drawer.

In some corner of my twisted mind, this all makes sense. I'm allowing One to query  widely, unfettered by any clinginess or obsession from yours truly. More importantly, I'm building an iron, spiky, barbed-wire fence around my heart to protect it in the case that One DOES go in a drawer.  Sounds good, right?

Yeah. Except...not. Why?

My writing life could turn around AT ANY MOMENT.

Between the time I'm typing this blog post and the time it posts, I could get an email from an agent requesting The Call. (Highly unlikely, yeah, but it COULD happen.) It could happen any minute.

And here I am planning query flurries that I might never have to send.

Here's my worry: that being a far thinker keeps me from taking risks, because I'm always driving toward that self-set goal, sometimes without evaluating whether it's the best course. For example, I'm trying to barrel through this draft of Chrome, when maybe I should be overhauling One to make it into a more marketable genre.

(Like, I could make Elias a vampire, and Merrin a vampire hunter.
JUST KIDDING.)

That's the sane worry, anyway. The insane one is...well...that I'm just insane. I have thoughts (that I frequently share with my CPs, sorry ladies) like, "At what point will I quit writing? MS #5? #7?" and "When should I self-publish?" and "How do I feel about small pubishers?" and "Who's buying the drinks if we all go to SCBWI this year? Will I go only if I'm agented, or only if I'm not agented?"

Are you guys ready to throw me across the room yet? (no hard feelings. Seriously.)

I don't really have a point for this blog post. I just know that sometimes my far-thinking-ness seems totally rational and reasonable, and other times I think, "Wow, I'm a certifiable nutcase." And then I kind of wonder if this far-thinking obsession will ever get me into legit trouble, or just leave me shaking my head at Past Me as per usual.

Sweet readers - Are any of you far-thinkers? How does it affect your writing? Do you do anything to curb it?

15 comments:

  1. If someone had told me I'd be 2 months away from my 32nd birthday and still be working full time with no children and a teeny house around the corner from my in-laws, I think I would've jumped off a bridge. Things definitely have a way of not working out the way we plan.

    But I don't see anything wrong with having goals and dreams. Or with entertaining the idea that you might get The Call any minute, because it could happen (for you, I mean). After all, you can't really say you're pursuing a writing career if you're not doing all the things you're doing. (And BTW, I see right through you. You do not have barbed wire around your heart when it comes to the stories you're querying. You love them. Say it. SAY IT!)

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    1. Aw, G. ((((HUGS))))

      And, yeah. I love them. I'm trying so, so hard not to, though. ;_;

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  2. I'm the saaaaaame way. Far-thinker for sure. Not only do I love making to-do lists, I love making Life Plan lists, too :) Honestly, I think for writing, at least for me, it's a good thing. The goals keep me moving forward and the "Plan" lists give me hope. Of course, it may not work out like I'm planning (probably won't) but it definitely helps give me perspective on where I am and where I want to be. I totally don't think you're insane (unless that's because I'm insane, too)! I would probably be doing the same thing, just in case. You know that saying "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst"? That's basically what you're doing. But, uh, if you ever find out that this far-thinking isn't too good for writing, let me know :)

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    1. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Yes. YES. THANK YOU. <3

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  3. I'm pretty sure the farthest thinking I do is in-story. >.< I mean, I don't even like thinking about what jobs I'm going to have to apply for this summer, and I'll need to do that next week over Spring Break. I dunno, in regards to getting published and whatnot, I'm much more "whatever happens, happens," y'know?

    (And I'm right there with G. What barbed wire? SAY YOU LOVE THEM.)

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    1. I think my problem is that the "whatever happens happens" approach isnt' giving me enough motivation to actually DO the writing. Hm.

      With as many queries as I have out (more than I have left to send, at this point,) saying I love them is killing me. ;_;

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  4. I'm a far thinker too, and I used to think it was what kept me so organized and focused. But now I'm trying to learn not to worry too much about the future, because you never know what's going to happen (like moving to Russia in six months). I think it's good to set deadlines and have goals, but for the things we have very little control over (like queries and agents and publishing deals), I think we just have to cross those bridges as they come. Just like I have to cross the whole living-in-a-foreign-country-where-I-don't-speak-the-language-and-don't-know-a-soul bridge when it comes. You know, THAT bridge :P

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    1. RUSSIA??? In SIX MONTHS???

      Okay. Never mind. My life is stress free.

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    2. LOL, no way. You do sooo much! I just try to keep in mind things like The Help getting 60 rejections before it found an agent. My friend had 70 rejections before she found her agent. At least we all have each other in this. Before I found all of you awesome bloggy friends, I really thought it was just me. It helps to know there are people going through the exact same thing. Because let's face, the husband just doesn't get it.

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    3. LOL, no way. You do sooo much! I just try to keep in mind things like The Help getting 60 rejections before it found an agent. My friend had 70 rejections before she found her agent. At least we all have each other in this. Before I found all of you awesome bloggy friends, I really thought it was just me. It helps to know there are people going through the exact same thing. Because let's face, the husband just doesn't get it.

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  5. GAH I feel like I'm always a super duper far thinker...and then when things don't happen exactly right I get super nervous about it :/ like at this point I was supposed to be in a serious relationship.....that's going super well hahaha. I think at some point I need to teach myself to stop planning everything...but I don't know if I'll ever be able to! Just keep writing no matter what, because you are INCREDIBLE at it, and you should never stop doing what you are passionate about <3

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  6. I have a plan with everything else besides my writing. Right now I have one WIP waiting for me to have time to overhaul it, and another that needs time to be written. I'm not as good at juggling as you are (I stay at home with one toddler). :)

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    1. Um. Staying at home with one toddler is not, like, EASY or anything. Luckily you have us to give us more credit than you give yourself. :)

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