Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Life After Revisions Looks Like & Musings on New Projects and NaNo

Sunday night, err technically Monday morning, around 1:30 am I sent in revisions to my new agent Adrienne Rosado. (Yes, in case you missed the Twitter announcement on the 7th. I have a lovely new agent. She is amazing and I already adore working with her. I'm sure I will talk more about this in the future.) These were hopefully the final revisions that I will have to do on The Bartender Book before it goes on submission to publishers. They were not massive revisions like my revisions back in May. They took only two weeks and were just minor tweaks of rearranging some information and scenes and then polishing my word choices, reading the manuscript aloud, etc. I will probably talk more about this later. Mostly I just wanted to show you what my office looks like after 2 weeks of revisions that happened to overlap with a very busy point in the semester for the YA fiction class I'm teaching (student conference time) and a bunch of freelance deadlines:

Not pictures are the piles of student work, but in the bottom right, you can see an explosion of junk from a box of my junior high and high school memorabilia that I went through to work on my latest piece for ROOKIE. And yeah in the bottom left, those are dirty dishes from Sunday's lunch. I know, ewww. But I was really focused on the book and nothing else at the point. It's lucky I ate, bringing dishes back downstairs was so not a priority. Oh and the pink thing is my Snuggie. It's freakin' cold in my office.

Now how about a close up on my desk:

The Synonym finder is open because of that final polishing stage. The two little notepads on top of it are the places where I randomly scrawled down words that seemed overused while I read the manuscript aloud. The notebook underneath contains my timeline and other notes for the Bartender Book. Also of note, the bag of cashews, which I almost had for dinner Sunday night, but my wonderful husband volunteered to go to Chipotle for me. To the right of the computer are the weekend's worth of mugs from the massive quantity of tea consumed and yeah, gross, I know, an empty soy yogurt container. Again, it's lucky I remember to eat. Above my computer is a calendar with deadlines, some of which I missed. It is my only way of remembering things I need to do when I am in the thick of a project and sometimes I still don't remember. If my computer was on, you might see an email inbox with hundreds of email that needs replying to or deleting. I did the deleting part Monday, but umm am slow on getting everything else in order.

You might notice that in the top right corner, behind some print cartridge boxes, I have a picture of myself on my desk. I know. That's weird. Let me explain. It's a picture of me all fake-smilely and professionally dressed from the office job I quit after I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE came out. I scratched out the words assistant to the dean" and wrote "author, bartender, assistant to NO ONE" beneath it as motivation. I hated that job. I hated that I could even look like the real me there and it wasn't creative at all. I have the picture up to remind me that no matter how stressed I feel working the many different jobs I have to work to make ends meet (and ends still don't always meet), it is better than that.

So that is what is going to keep me going into the next project, which I am buzzing and ready to work on. It's going to take a lot of effort to actually catch up on my email and juggle the deadlines and other work I have this week because I don't want down time for writing. I love that book I just finished and I want to bring that to my next project.

What is that new project, you ask? I'm not entirely sure. I had three ideas that I've been pondering since June and now I think I've eliminated it down to two. There was one that I have been thinking on forever and have written a few partial drafts for different versions of it and I have all these muses for it and notes, endless plotting notes that I worked so hard on this summer, but before I went back to work on revising The Bartender Book, I was really struggling to actually *write* that story. Then I have this other idea that I just thought of earlier this year and I think I might be able to just let it spill out of me. I'm hesitant because it seems almost too easy and also because I feel like the other idea might be the better idea, the one with the bigger hook. However, if this one is easier to write, it might the one to do for NaNoWriMo.

That's right, I'm actually thinking of doing it this year. Not officially because well I will have already cheated because either project I pick will have roughly 25 pages already written on it. Also I'm afraid that if I put too much pressure on myself, I will set myself up to fail. That's just how I am. I generally don't write quickly and when I've had word count goals in the past, it has ended badly, but that said, I felt like I was in a bit of a slump this summer and now that the Bartender Book revisions and my new agent have me all motivated and excited, I want to keep my energy up, so I figure why not try it. Plus if all goes well I may be starting November in a new office. (That was my other reason behind showing you the messy office pictures, other than I like seeing that part of the writing process for people.)

My goal is not to write a whole novel in the month of November, but to write 50,000 words. It may be words on two different novels if I don't figure out what I'm working on by then. I may write a lot of those words in the last three days of the month while I'm on a writing retreat. I may just use it to kick me into gear and then forget about word count. We'll see.

What about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If you've done it before, do you have any tips for me about sticking with it? Or maybe you have input on which project I should work on?

Last but not least, today is my friend, Tara Kelly's release day for AMPLIFIED! A book about a female musician which I am very excited to read because, dude, we need more of those.

So Happy book Birthday, Tara and AMPLIFIED!


Paradox said...

A friend of mine convinced me to participate this year too, so I am going to take up the challenge.
You are such a motivation Stephanie <3 <3

marina said...

Dear Stephanie,
I meant to tell you before but the first comment I had written never published (like a jerk). I had to create a blog for my college freshman english class and I decided to call it The Ballad of a Redhead because I've been dying my hair red since the fifth grade. Even though the display picture I have pink hair but that it just a nice shout out to Joe Meno for Hairstyles. Anyways, I thought it might make you feel all rockstar-y. [=

Bee said...

That is such a writer's den. LOVE IT.

Adrianne Russell said...

I love that somebody else has a messy office space. That's how I know I'm on a roll, when I don't have time to clean up! As for NaNo, I'm doing it for the fourth time and I'm convinced I failed my first year because I thought I had to have a completely polished and finished project in a month and the pressure got to me. Now I think of it as "I'm writing the START to a great novel" in 30 days. That being said, I have a new goal for this year: 100,000 words. See you at the finish line! :)

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Glad I can be a motivator, Jade! Good luck with your NaNoing!

Marina, that is so so so awesome! That does make me feel rock star like. I love it!

Bee, thank you!

Adrienne, Glad I am not alone in the mess. WOW 100K?!?!? I'll be lucky to do 30 I think, but that will be good for me. And thanks for the advice. That does slow me down, the polishing.