At my paying job yesterday, I suddenly realized that I am enveloped in upward of six projects, all at different phases of production. Since I am only really capable of holding three ideas in my head at once, this was a problem. What I wound up doing was making a grid of the production process that I hung on my wall, drawing up a Post-It note for each project, and sticking it at the proper place on the grid.
The grid looked like this:
The funny thing is, a couple of those projects went through the whole grid, but are now back at Square One (Write).
Well. What does that sound like, boys and girls? The Story of My Life, you say? Give the children a prize. Except in TSoML, that “done” square just represents the start of another grid that looks like query/reject/query/send pages/reject-revise/query…. and even after you get an agent, there’s another grid after that to find a publisher, and yet another grid after THAT before your book is on the shelves at Barnes and Noble.
A friend of mine was very excited that she finished her first draft this week. She should be excited. It’s a huge achievement to finish a long piece of work. (And it’s a fantastic piece of work, too, so she has very good reason to be busting with pride on top of her excitement.) But as she knows, finished really means just beginning.
I’ve got too many home projects in my brain, and they are all scattered along the same sort of grid as the one on my wall at work. One is essentially “done” on the chart above. I’ve got some people looking at it, but I think it’s ready enough to go that I’m querying agents without waiting for their input. (And if you think querying is easy, please tell me how you do it, because it took me three hours to send three queries last night.) Another is at the “write” stage, and I’m plugging along. I’ve got another that is at square one on a second go-round, another that is just an idea in my head, and yet another that is probably at the rewrite phase, if I can find the flash drive it’s stored on. I’m also editing books for two other people who are also on that grid in different phases.
And I love it. I’m having a ball. I certainly want something to come of all this effort, but even if it doesn’t, I’m enjoying the ride.
Not as much as this guy, however, who really has hit the end of all the process grids on his first published work. For sale! Book tours! Blogs! Reviews by people he doesn’t even know! I’m busting with pride for the old man, I tell you.