The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible - Vladimir Nabokov

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you - Zora Neale Hurston

08 December 2010

Balancing your writing projects

What do you do when you have too many irons in the fire? In my case, it's too many writing projects while there's a bun in the oven. I have a deadline of May 20th 2011, the baby's due date, but this could be weeks earlier or later because babies aren't as precise about deadlines as editors and publishers.
As an 'aspiring writer' (the kind term for 'unpublished'), you'd think I have all the time in the world to tinker with my manuscript, right? So, so, so wrong. I work full time and have no delusions about finding time to write when there's a newborn in the house. Then after I go back to work, I'm certain my spare time will be spent playing catch up on my career as well as trying to keep up with the baby (and I want to be there as much as possible). So, with a scarcity of writing time available in the foreseeable future and heaps right now (relatively speaking), what do I do first? Here are the current projects to consider:
  1. my first novel (it's actually my third, but the first I really have high hopes for)--currently 130,000 words, fully revised, but it's only one half of an epic fantasy, and I want to complete both parts before submitting to agents, so I can be sure I have the story exactly how I want it and nifty foreshadowing worked in, etc.
  2. a screenplay for a 20 min short, promised to an 'aspiring independent film-maker' friend--currently outlined and at 5 pages (~1/4 done)
  3. a collection of Native American stories, retold for modern comprehensibility, meant for a calendar and an illustrated book featuring my husband's artwork, both of which we plan to self-publish--still in the research stage, but of huge importance to my husband and his art career
  4. blogging and social networking--but I've already cut that back so much there are probably only two or three of you out there still reading this
  5. work-related writing, namely grants to support me when I come back from maternity leave and to fund my child's future--currently at the vague idea stage with the first deadline in February (and this is a real deadline)
Any ideas? I'm currently in the overwhelmed and paralyzed stage, so nothing is getting done.
If I can shake off this freeze reflex (it's not just fight or flight, people--some of us freeze when frightened out of our wits), then, logically, my priorities should be #5, #2, #3, #1, and still-suffering-#4.
Stupid logic.
I SO want to work on my novel right now.
Guess I'll resume staring at my to do list...