This week I am reading Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay. They are vastly different stories—the first being an adaptation of the Jane Austen classic regency romance suffused with bone-crunching zombie action, the second a middle-grade crime novel set in 1950’s England described in one review as “Harriet the Spy meets Agatha Christie”, and the third the conclusion of the YA Hunger Games trilogy about a future where politics, war and entertainment have become virtually indistinguishable and the kick-butt teenage heroine that rages against it.
I’m having a fabulous time with these books—each of them a little excursion to a time and place inaccessible to me in the real world—but as the heading of my blog suggests, they are cutting into my writing time. Even this blog, which I am hugely enjoying thinking about, planning and composing, is preventing me from finishing the eleven thousandth edit of my manuscript.
Last night I revisited my little novel. It’s been weeks since I stopped editing at page 127 of 167. I guess I’ve been feeling a bit burned out after completely reworking the story three times over the past year and doing cover to cover edits after almost every rejection letter that I’ve received from the ten or so literary agents I’ve queried so far. I suppose it hasn’t helped much that some of the incredible books I’ve read of late have tempted me to throw my keyboard out the nearest window, sure that I’ll never be able to compete; but, last night after rereading a few sections of my manuscript, The Genie Chronicles: Book One, Heir to the Lamp, I came away with renewed hope about its publication potential and determination to finish the latest edit. I guess that’s the thing about being a writer—you always believe your stories are worth telling. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t keep at it.
So, I’ve resolved to do the following: to take only inspiration from what I’m reading—no more thoughts of doubt that I’ll ever measure-up; to continue to see every rejection as a push to work harder, an opportunity to refine my craft; and finally, to make time every day to work on my manuscript.
I know that some visitors to this blog are fellow writers. I’d love to hear how you stay motivated. Any tips or advice?