I spent about 4 years between finishing the first draft of my debut novel and the time I first sent the query letter to an agent. Edits and re-writes and switching over to my memoirs to finish writing so I could edit and re-write them too! The memoirs have been published for over a year and a half now, and the focus in all that time has really been the editing of that one book.
I find myself tormented by just wanting to write and just wanting the novel done. One always takes away from the other, and don’t mention just wanting to read something I don’t know all the history behind…
I’ve found a website that I think will help me find that balance, or so I hope. Reedsy.com hosts weekly contests with a grand prize for the winner. Each new week they give 5 writing prompts centered around a common theme. You pick one, write your short story of only 1k-3k words, and submit! You can pay $5 to be in the contest, or just post them to your site for free.
I stumbled onto the website this month, and just entered my first contest. I don’t care if I win or not, though it would be fun to (not to mention the prize money). I’m happy to have a place to help me focus on a scheduled prompted writing opportunity… I’ve missed creating new stories more than I can convey, and working on this first prompt was a breath of fresh air. I have linked the page with my social media links, but will also link it at the end of this post.
I know I’m not the only one who feels stuck in perfecting things at their later stages. Sometimes it can make us wonder if we really want to be doing what we chose so long ago. We tire, we lose interest in moving forward (or trying to move forward anyway), imposter syndrome kicks in, and uncertainty surrounds us. But I encourage you to take a moment and remember why you chose it so long ago. Or even so recently. What did you fall in love with?
I fell in love with storytelling without knowing that I had long before I put pen to paper to give it a try. I understand that editing and re-writing and learning everything you need to learn is necessary for the path I’ve chosen, and I’m not upset about it. But balance is required in every part of your life. I will continue to work hard to give this novel and future novels their best chance, but in the meantime, I have to remember to visit my first love periodically- and write away!