It’s been a week since my wonderful Mad City (aka Madison) writers’ conference, and I’m digging in. Locked and loaded. Replenishing my stock of craft beer and hunting for just the right atmosphere in my writing office.
Why all the “buckle down and get my sh** together”?
“I found some Moon Man.” My Muse sets a six-pack of craft beer next to the dorm-sized refrigerator.
“Where? I can’t get it in Minnesota, only in Wisconsin.”
He lays a hand on my shoulder. “I’ve got connections, love. Besides, you don’t get any until you get through the blizzard scenes.”
I’m almost there. I should be able to finish those revisions by tomorrow night. “No chocolate?”
He drops into the recliner within arm’s reach of the fridge. Today he’s wearing that burgundy thermal shirt I adore (mostly because it fits him just right) and tan cargo pants, the kind with legs you can unzip and turn into long shorts. They’re perfect for this time of year, with cool mornings and nice warm afternoons.
“Not until you get through the B&E scene. You still need to talk to Sierra about that.” He flips up the footrest and laces his hands behind his head. He’s way too comfortable, if you ask me. “Speaking of, I told her to meet you in a couple days. She’s waiting for my call.”
Uh-huh. I’ll bet she is. I would, too, if it meant listening to his baritone voice with the Aussie accent. “Can you adjust the scenery, please?” Right now, the view from my office window is a wide, grassy field with a tree line in the distance and what I think is a lake beyond that. “Try the mountain cabin by stream.”
“I’ve got a better idea, love.” The view goes blurry. When it comes back into focus, it’s a tropical landscape of a white beach, turquoise water, and palm trees. I can smell the salt and the sea.
“I was hoping to look at something that doesn’t make me want to order umbrella drinks and doze off in the sun.”
My Muse shakes his head. “Fine.” The image changes again, this time into a vision of redwoods and ferns so thick the sunlight is muted. “Better?”
“It’ll do.” I hand him my scene map. “I’m here. I need to be here,” I slide my finger down the column, “by tonight.”
An eyebrow arches. “I haven’t seen you this determined in a long time, love.”
“A positive response to my pitch–from multiple agents, mind you–will do that.” It still hasn’t sunk in. “I need to get this shined up in two months.” It’s my own deadline, but I all but swore I’d hit it.
On that last day of the conference, my writing sister talked about resetting one’s “success-ometer”. We hit our goals, mark our successes, then set new benchmarks to hit. Sure, we can set our goal way out into the future, but it might take weeks, months, or years to get there.
By accepting our step-by-step successes, we can feel like we’re moving forward, because we are. The first success might be finishing the first draft of your novel. Then reset the meter to finishing x number of revisions, or sending the story to your critique partners, or sending it out to beta readers. The next success might be revising based on their feedback, then writing the query and synopsis. Maybe include writing the pitch and logline.
Reset the meter to “sending out queries.” My next one, back when I started this journey, was receiving a rejection. Why? Because it meant I’d sent out a query.
My current “success-ometer” is set to getting my WIP in shape by mid-June. I’ve warned the family that Mom (me) won’t be available much until I hit that mark. I’ve got an awesome opportunity I need to grab hold of with both hands. I write with the support of my family and my Writing Sisters. Especially my Writing Sisters, who helped me wrangle my “meh” plot into a “wow” plot, and keep pushing me to improve.
My Muse pries a cap off a bottle of brew and tosses it into the garbage. “Finish up, love. You WIP won’t revise itself.”
Have a great weekend, and Write ON!