I have come to a realization. This is not a new realization; I have come to it several times before because it seems I am a very slow learner. I’m sure it won’t be the last time either.
This is what was revealed to me in my moment of enlightenment:
Just because I can write a story it doesn’t mean I should write the story.
In my case, I have a teensy tiny addiction to publisher calls. (For those not in the biz, that means a publisher has announced they are looking for a particular type of story of a certain length.) I immediately think, “Oh, I could write that! I have an idea that would fit the bill. Sure the deadline is a little tight but I can write ten pages a day for the next month, no problem.”
And I could.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a very good story. There are a lot of reasons to write a story that you aren’t excited to work on. Most of them involve being under contract. I’m not. Right now, I am in the mostly enviable position of being able to write whatever story I want.
I currently have two projects I’m very passionate about. Yet I’ve been beating my head against a wall trying to make a word count on a call idea that’s just meh. It’s not a bad story. It isn’t a great one either. The characters are plodding along, hitting their marks, struggling through the conflicts I’ve created for them. But they are BORING. And I’m bored writing about them.
So why am I forcing myself to?
Today I said ENOUGH. Nobody’s going to die if I don’t make the call. The worst thing that will happen is that I’ll lose that one particular chance for an “in” at that publisher. I keep forgetting that if I write an exciting book that I love working on, I can submit that book to the publisher. And we will both have a better time – me writing it and everyone else reading it. Readers can tell if an author simply calls it in. (No pun intended.) Passion sells – and I’m not talking strictly about the romantic kind either.
How does this insight damage my writing goals for the year? It doesn’t. The story starts will go into the “Unfinished” file. Perhaps someday they will bloom into something better. Until then I am going to pull out the two stories I want to work on. I won’t have to force the words; they will be hard to stop. I’m smiling even thinking about them. So I’m going to stop this post and get to work so I can get to “The End” of projects I want to work on faster and send those ones off to the publishers whose calls I’m ignoring.