April 12, 2016

Saturday, November 15, 2008

D.I.Y. Deadlines

I must have been off my rocker.
A few weeks ago, I sent in the first ten pages of my middle grade novel ("Archieology" -- not the novel in verse) for a conference critique. The feedback I've received from a handful of editors and agents has convinced me that the opening chapters are missing something.
I had a great discussion with children's author Mary Quattlebaum, my critiquer. With Mary's feedback and comments from our SCBWI Asst. Regional Adviser, Edie Hemingway, I couldn't wait to revise. Just as soon as I finished my fall poetry residencies and CityLit class.
Then, last weekend, an enthusiastic moment. "Now is the time to revise," I decided. "The novel (which is at Scholastic) is not going to sell without the changes." I made a revision plan. First fifteen pages due in one week. That's today.
Even by the middle of the week, I was trying to reason with myself. "It's still just four pages a day. That's nothing." Ugh! I hate self-imposed guilt.
Now the week is over. No pages. When will I learn that I can't write while I'm teaching? Anyone else out there have the same problem?
Does teaching require the same heart/mind energy we put into our poems and fiction? Or am I just crazy? (Crazy, probably. I also have a paying deadline for Baltimore's Child Magazine this weekend.)
Picture storybook author Debbie Clayman, who heads up my SCBWI critique group, says she wrote more when she was teaching full time. Having a regular schedule forced her to squeeze in a regular time for writing.
I love being a visiting teacher. But I'm looking forward to having writing time & revising that novel. Finding the time is going to be a challenge. Wrestling season just started and "DJ Rob Man" is on the travel team this year. Miss J has basketball.
I'll just have to cart my laptop around and avoid socializing with anyone but the characters of "Archieology." If Archie or his best friend Billy decides to take up wrestling, you'll know where I was squeezing in that writing time.

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