Skip to main content

True Spring in the Writer's Heart

Late this past August, as I was excitedly working on a much-loved "secret" project, I received a call from my agent and a very welcome offer on a pair of books for my current publisher. The catch? I needed to write them very quickly to make the publication slots that were being held for me. So for the past six or seven months, I've been pedal-to-the-metal writing these two books, the not-so-secret project relegated to the back of the already-quite-crowded closet. (I call it my "future file," and it's jam-packed with half-baked ideas, half-complete proposals, and rejected projects I hope to attack from another angle and give a second chance.)

But I can tell you, the secret project did not go quietly. For months, it's been struggling to flap its way free, as the strongest of ideas often will. Casting itself in my mind as a glittering, gold-feathered (with diamonds for eyes!) bird in the bush, it fluttered at the edges of my consciousness, distracting me from the everyday drudgery (and I'm talking seven days a week here) that tight deadlines can become with its hopeful song, tantalizing me with its possibilities.

Yesterday, I turned in my second manuscript, and after two seasons of hard work, I'd convinced myself that it was time for a few days off to consider which possibility I really wanted to drag out of the closet, but the secret project had no intention of waiting its turn. And with that realization--and the knowledge that I am at last truly free to pursue it--I feel the warmth of the March sunshine, the breath of scented air, the sense of delicious anticipation that only true spring can bring with it.

Still, I remind myself, though there is nothing so exciting as raw potential, hard work must always follow. The trick is, keeping that initial thrill alive throughout the seasons, long enough to set it down in writing and shape it with sound feedback and careful editing. Only then can it bear fruit in the mind of every reader.

So as spring begins, what new projects are on your horizon? And how do you keep that initial thrill alive?


Lark Howard said…
Good for you, Colleen! I know how much you want to work on that project.

I'm trying to finish up the revisions on my WIP so I can send it to my agent. She hasn't seen a word of it yet so I'm hoping she likes it as much as I do. Although I like the re-writing process when everything sharpens and intensifies, there are days when I wish the story in my head would write itself...really quickly. :-)
Amanda Stevens said…
I'm so curious about this secret project. Give us some hints! ;)

I can't wait to get started on my first YA. I've never written one so I'm not entirely convinced I can do it. But I'm excited to find out.
You're a RITA finalist! You can do anything!

Seriously, congratulations on your nomination. I loved, loved, loved THE RESTORER, and very soon will be glomming the heck out of THE KINGDOM! Can't wait!

Popular posts from this blog

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button": Did you love it or hate it?

Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ

APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES by Paul Neilan is only good if you enjoy things like laughter

The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist. When one of the women is murdered, and Shane is the only suspect who doesn't care enough to act like he didn't do it, the question becomes just how he'll clear the good name he never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.