Take a deep breath. Calm the shaking hands. It’s done. The book has been sent to iUniverse and I’m on my way to actually holding a book with my name on it in a few months time. Exciting, scary, and a huge relief to have it done. Now what?
No problem with that. I have several things that I can’t wait to start working on. I was lucky enough to get a Writers’ Reserve Grant from the Ontario Arts Council at the end of December and I haven’t written a word. Now I am free to start working on the revisions to a YA novel that someone liked the first 10 pages of well enough to actually send me money. I have a middle grade fantasy novel that’s been lingering for a while and I want to take a look at my NaNoWriMo manuscript, too. That’s three projects to start and I’d also like to include a short story for children in the group. Yup, no problem with what to start writing.
I can’t wait to jump into fiction again. I look forward to revisiting the many voices I have created who are telling my story. With non-fiction, the only voice is mine, and as charming as I may think it is, it’s not as much fun as playing with a bunch of characters who walk, talk, and act in sometimes surprising, but always different ways.
Writing fiction is like visiting my local flea market. New sights, textures, people, and even smells are around every corner and I get to sample them and see if they fit in with the work I’m doing. Sometimes my choices are a perfect match for my project and other times they end up in the bin, but always they are a part of my creative fiction process. I learn as much from the things I decide to eject as I learn from the ones I keep.
With fiction the shoulders come down a bit. I allow myself more room for experimentation, for deviating from the plan, for just playing around. For my non-fiction book (Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens) I had a strict deadline because I knew when I needed to have the books in my hand. My fiction deadlines depend solely on me and I have deliberately set them for several months and more down the road. I want to have some play time, some time to remember how to write fiction again, some time to rediscover the voices of my characters and the rhythms of their stories.