Today I'd like to take the opportunity to answer a few more of your questions regarding the in-house editing I'm doing for my first contracted novel.
Jill Boyd asked: You finally started to research your second book, but now the edits have come. Do you have days where the ideas for book two just flow? And if so, do you leave the edits in order to work on that? How do you balance two different projects?
Most of you know Bethany House contracted me to write three books and that Book #2 is due to them by next fall. I've given myself the deadline of finishing by next summer. As Jill mentioned, I was in the beginning stages of researching and plotting Book #2. Then I got my rewrites back for Book #1 (The Preacher's Bride.)
For the past month, I've almost completely put aside Book #2, aside from the occasional biography that I can't put down (yes, I'm a history geek). Instead, I've focused all of my energy and time on making the rewrites for The Preacher's Bride.
If I had already started writing Book #2, then I think I would have continued to keep up with a basic amount of writing to keep the flow going. But since I'm still in the research phase, I can easily set it aside and focus entirely on getting the rewrites completed.
Cassandra Frear asked: How do you take care of yourself so that there is enough creative energy for writing effectively everyday?
The rewrite stage is intense. It demands a great deal of my energy and time, more so than writing the first draft of a novel. But because I know I only have about six weeks of this intensity and then I'm done (at least until the next edits come along!), I can sacrifice more of myself.
When I start writing Book #2, the best way for me to rejuvenate creative energy is to plunge myself into history. I told you I was a history geek! I find incredible inspiration from my musty stack of library books. All it takes is an interesting name to spark an idea or a unique event to start a plot thread.
Tamika asked: Does your family see a change in your writing load?
During the rewrite stage, my family knows I'm pouring more time and energy into my writing. They understand the rewrites are for a limited time, and that once I'm finished I will have time to do the Christmas shopping. I've reassured them, that yes, they will actually get presents under the tree. And now they're happy.
No, seriously, since getting my contract, I've talked with my family, specifically my children, about how my writing career will take more time and dedication than it has in the past. The new demands will require more from all of us. We've also talked about how God gives us all gifts and how we must use those gifts diligently and faithfully. I'm setting an example of that for them with my writing.
Christina Davis asked: How did you stay motivated and deadline-oriented BEFORE someone was counting on you, before you had a book deal?
The dream to become a published author has always been a HUGE motivator, and is in fact, what keeps most of us persevering against so many obstacles. We dream big, and we long for the day when we can kiss our name on the cover of a book.
But, we need more than dreams. We need self-discipline too. Fortunately I have the type of personality that doesn't have to work too hard at making goals and sticking to them. I usually give myself a daily word count goal and I don't go to bed until I meet it.
Mostly, however, before getting a contract, my biggest motivator was an absolute LOVE of my story. Once I start, I have a driving need to bring the story to a satisfying completion. It's almost like I'm reading my story and can't put it down until the last page.
What about you? How do you motivate yourself to stay dead-line oriented? I'd love to hear what inspires you to keep going!
Patience over the Long, Long Haul
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