I’m in an odd place writing-wise. I’ve returned my manuscript revisions to my editor. I don’t know when she’ll get back to me, two weeks? Two months? If there’s anything my journey to publication has taught me it’s that publishing moves at its own pace. Even if I did know exactly the day and the hour she’ll to return my writing to me, I can’t predict her reaction. There’s more than a good chance we’ll do another round of editing (as a debut author, I’m totally fine with that possibility) or we could move immediately into copy-editing.
With that uncertainty I’m not sure how to move forward. The life-cycle of a manuscript for me is:
- 3 to 4 months takes a story from idea to first draft manuscript
- 3 weeks from draft manuscript to polished
- Off to my thoroughly awesome Beta readers, who are completely worth their weight in gold.
- Back from the Beta readers, the manuscript gets another three to four week edit.
- At this point it’s polished enough to go to my agent.
- My agent (Love her!) usually has a few comments, so there’s another editing period.
- Back to my agent the manuscript begins its trip to the publishing houses.
The trick is, these steps don’t happen in a vacuum. While manuscript 1 (MMS1) is with the Beta readers, manuscript 2 (MSS2) begins the journey. I never edit a story immediately after I’ve finished it, it needs time to rest. The writing cycle looks a little bit like this:
Month 1 to 4: MSS1 is written.
Month 5: MSS1 rests. MSS2 begins.
Month 8: MSS2 wraps up. Begin editing MSS1
Month 9: MSS1 goes off to Beta Readers. Begin MSS3.
Month 12: Wrap up MSS3. Begin Editing MSS2. MSS1 comes back from Beta and gets in line behind MSS2.
(repeat until MSS100, at which point I intend to take a trip around the world.)
This year hasn’t gone exactly according to plan. Looking back at my writing journal I can reconstruct my writing work this year to be:
- Jan to March: MSS1 (which I’d begun a year ago and lost interest in)
- April to August: MSS2
- August: edits to Waking Up Dead
- September: Uh… Umm… let me get back to you on that.
I’d like to complete the very rough first draft of another manuscript before the end of the year. Three manuscripts a year feels like I’m taking my writing seriously and doing a good job. MSS2, which I wrapped up in early August, is off with a Beta reader, so it’s on track. MSS1 is off with my agent, so it’s on track. So right now (literally at this very instant) I should be starting a new story. (Waits for inspiration.) (Nothing comes.) But really, shouldn’t I hold off on starting something new until I know I won’t be forced to set it down for more work on Waking Up Dead? Or should I take this downtime to work on promoting Waking Up Dead, or should I be doing…. Some other great thing some one on the internet will suggest right now? Please?