When I was a kid I had this habit of always thinking about the next exciting thing to happen in my life. Just days into starting school in September I was already wishing it was Halloween. Once Halloween was over, it was all about Thanksgiving and then Christmas.
This pattern didn’t disappear as I got older. When I was 14 I wanted to be 16 so desperately I looked through the classifieds every week, thinking about the car I’d drive one day. At 18, and a freshman in college, all I wished for was my 21st birthday. After 21, it was graduation, first job, etc.
While annoying at times, especially when friends and family yelled at me to “live in the moment, I’m happy to say this habit followed me into adulthood and here’s the reason why: when you write, you have to look forward. Not get stalled in the process, but think about what you’re going to work on next.
When I first ventured into the query trenches, I was plotting something new. When the rejections came and it was time to think about next steps, I already had a new book I was working on. Even in the darkest days of that “rejection period,” I had hope because my mind-set was “Okay, they don’t want that one, I’ll write something even better.”
Some may think this idea of forward motion stopped when I signed with my agent. That I would work on the manuscript she signed me for, polish, and revise and then wait to see what happened. While I did work on it, and revise, and rework until it was just right, I was still thinking about what was next. And here’s the honest truth: it’s what has kept me sane through the ups and downs of publishing.
For me the idea of forward momentum is akin to running a marathon. You plan, you train, and then comes the race. Sure, people pass you, but then you pass others, always with the same goal in mind: finishing the race. It’s no different in the publishing world. You have to focus, write, and when things don’t work out, write some more. The end goal always being the same-that beautiful finish line-a published book!
What about you? Do you keep a forward momentum when you write? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.