When I was fifteen and wanted more than anything to be a self-supporting novelist, I don’t think I realized how much juggling the writing life takes—and I don’t even have deadlines for edits or for the draft of a next book yet!

When people ask me what I do as a writer, it’s easiest to talk about the pirate book I’m currently writing with my sister. We’re drafting the manuscript right now, just trying to get it all down in black and white as fast as we can. Yes, I write in the evenings after work when I’m able. Six hundred words a day is what I aim for. No, it’s not that much, maybe ninety minutes on a good day.

Those who know me better know that I’m also trying to sell a book right now. It’s an alternate history novel I finished editing in the summer, and it’s out with literary agents. Every week I maybe get a rejection letter or two that I log in my spreadsheet, and every couple of weeks I’ll send out another batch of queries. To be fair, managing the query process on this book doesn’t take a lot of time, but it’s still one of the plates I have in the air. (It’s also the most exciting one potentially, as one day an agent may write back and say, “This is lovely, of course I want to sell this to Tor instantly.”)

There’s also the portal fantasy draft sitting on my hard drive that I’m waiting to edit, hopefully after my sister and I finish the first draft of our pirate book. At 107,000 words, the portal fantasy manuscript is a bit of a monster, but I already know of a few scenes and tangents I want to edit out. This project takes practically none of my time just right now, but it’s still swimming around in my brain. Listening to certain music, such as Hammock or God Is an Astronaut, will get me thinking about this project, or reading certain books, such as Once and Future King. I posted a print of Briton Rivière’s “Una and the Lion” in my office cubicle when I was last working on this book, and it’s still hanging there, reminding me every time I see it.

I’m writing the occasional sonnet these days as well, on weekends when I don’t have anything particular going on. I have vague, pretentious thoughts of collecting them into a book at some point in the future. In the meantime I send them off sporadically to literary journals. I just got a rejection letter about some of my sonnets from a nice professor in Germany earlier this week.

And then of course I’m writing this weekly blog, which I seem to do most often on Saturdays.

All in all, it certainly feels like I’m juggling a lot of writing projects these days.

One thought on “Juggling

  1. I’m at the point now where I have to have rules about not even reading certain kinds of books when I’m mid-project, because it will instantly get me thinking about my *other* projects. I had to put a hold on all Victorian/early modern Brit authors when we started the pirate novel, but I can’t stop buying them, and my stack is now six deep. That’s actually why chapter 12 is taking me so long to finish. I started reading a Diana Athill memoir and have fallen into surreptitious note-taking when I should be writing.


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