After finishing the inspirational romance and getting it in the mail, I indulged in some slacking to refresh my tired brain. I also caught up on some reading, however, so even the slacker days had some productivity. Someone asked last night what I was working on now, and I asked myself that same question over the last couple of weeks--what now? Because just waiting to hear back on a finished story is never the right answer. First of all, on the off chance they do like the story, they'll eventually want to know if I have another. And I'll want to have another to send to them while the iron is hot, even if they don't ask. And probably more importantly, waiting can drive you crazy. Better to find a new project to throw myself into.
I'm in a place right now where I've tapped into some well of "yes, this is where I need to be" regarding the inspirational romances. I don't know that it's the romance part that draws me, so much as the inspirational part. And I do think that at some level, my attraction to them is at a craftsman's level. These are shorter than your big epic fantasy novels. The situations are more simple and straightforward. The plotting is more linear. This allows me to really see how everything works together and learn how to make it work for me, too. Prior to writing the first romance, I spent some time reading published samples to see what made them tick. I've since gone even further and completely deconstructed a sample in an attempt to see how each piece is constructed and how they all fit together. I feel like I've learned a great deal that I can apply to a next romance, and that's what I started on this weekend--planning a second inspirational romance. Part of me itches to be working on other stories, Crowmaker especially. But I don't so much feel that I've turned aside onto a different path, as that I've been trying to leap across a chasm, and I've just found a previously-obscured path that leads to the promised land on the far side. This path may take me a longer, windier way than the big leap, but the likelihood of making it in one piece is greater. Everything I write, no matter the genre or form or eventual state of publication (or non-publication), is a learning experience. The process of writing a story teaches me something new every time, and it informs the next story I write.
So, yeah. I feel much more settled than I have in a long time. I haven't been soaring with white-hot inspiration and then diving into doing no work at all for days at a time. I find I'm able to keep a steady pace and figure out how to move ahead when I get stuck. One step at a time. One day at a time.
In other news, school is out for the summer in less than two weeks. I am so looking forward to the break. My daytime writing hours may shrink in number, but I've learned how to be more productive in less time, too. And I've had some success in acclimating myself to writing in the evenings, so I may be able to simply juggle my hours around instead of giving some up. We'll see. Even if not, it'll be nice to have a break from fundraiser requests and subbing at school.