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Choosing the Next Project

October 19, 2011

On Wednesdays, I'll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

I'm in good company here – the land of What Are We Going to Write Next Month? I met with my friend Betsy again this week to discuss it. She and I both have a fiction idea and a nonfiction idea. There are pros and cons to pursuing either one. One the one hand, I need to get my next novel finished and up for sale to keep growing my audience. On the other hand, NaNo is always a good time to work hard on something you often don't have/take the time for.

One way to decide is to consider where my mind has been lately, and where it chooses to go without conscious direction. I've had a lot of “business” stuff on my mind for the last six months or so. I knew I needed to get my writing business up and running again as quickly as possible once I finished grad school. Some people say they keep their deadlines because they need to pay the rent. I'm rushing to build my business because my student loan is going to come due soon!

Another way to decide which project to work on is to consider what else is going to be happening during November, especially in comparison to other months. For me, November may be a time of packing and moving. (Though it may not; we haven't heard for sure yet.) I would find it very difficult to focus on a new story during a time of upheaval. On the other hand, I've already written the first draft of the next book, so I'd be in editing mode. It's often easier to edit something than to come with something brand new, especially if you're already a bit spacey. Given a choice, I'd rather work on nonfiction when I have a challenging schedule. I can do bits and pieces of research any time, for any amount of time, and cut and paste everything into one big Scrivener document. And the novel is going to be finished one way or another because it's definitely part of my career plan.

That being said, the other argument for the novel is a) NaNo is National Novel Writing Month not National Put Words on the Page Month, and b) it's always been a time that you spent working on the novel you haven't had time for until now. I will make time for it over the next few months, but maybe “now” is a good time to start.

I could also look at it from a strictly business perspective: which product is likely to earn me more money faster, the ebook about the business aspects of a writing career, or the book about a girl trying to get the attention of the boy she's always loved? 🙂 Probably the business book. But you never know!

I'm leaning toward the business book. The business aspects of a writing career – record keeping, taxes, expenses, opportunity cost, business planning, goal setting, time management – comprise the overwhelming majority of my thoughts lately. I'm also giving two short talks on the topic in the next few weeks, and I'm preparing a workshop proposal for the RWA conference next year. Seems like maybe now is the time to go with the flow. What do you think?

Have you decided what you're going to write yet? We have a week and a half left to make notes and prepare an outline. Oh sorry, that's me. You pantsters have a week and a half to let your mind wander. 😉 Let me know what you're doing. Maybe it will help me decide.


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