Writing Update #3: Wind for Brains

I’m currently working on… something. And I say that because I’ve been stuck for a while. It’s not a book yet, barely a manuscript, and it’d be a stretch to even call it a story. I have a gaggle of characters—two leads, a kid, a crew—and a premise, but it lacks structure and form.

I had an amazing burst of inspiration in December 2021. Wrote my way through January 2022. Shared my progress with my critique group and agent—everything was going well. Then, I sent it to my editor for approval, which I got, but also… I had to make some changes. There was a potential behind-the-scenes conflict with my premise.

When I tell you those changes and conflict completely knocked the wind out of me and my sails—I’ve been down BAD. What I thought was a strong hold on my story and characters turned out to be tenuous at best. Honestly, it was so fragile that it basically shattered when I had to think of ways to incorporate those edit notes.

Writing is hard. Revising is hard. Editing with another person whose opinion carries a significant amount of weight is hard. It’s a lesson I’ve learned repeatedly as I continue to be a traditionally published author. In the end, I know my books will be better for having listened to my team, but that doesn’t make the struggle hurt any less, especially while I’m in it.

Even though this experience has sucked, I’ve also learned something very important about my process. If I share my work too early, it’s highly likely that I won’t be able to continue. If I’m not at a place where I thoroughly know my characters, outside opinions will crush me and my motivation.

But how can I expect myself to stand firm, collaborate and compromise, and get the work done if I don’t even understand what I’m trying to do yet? That’s not my editor’s fault—they can only evaluate and give feedback on what I give them.

I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to parse through a plot, deciding what I want to explore with this book, how to go about it, and coaxing the heartbeat into a steady, trusting rhythm. I think I have it. I got my girl. I know who she is. And she’s ready to join Alice and Joy.

This is a story about a girl named Lucky…

(That’s not a joke. Well, it is. But it’s also not.)

I prefer to work in intense bursts—like writing/revising an entire manuscript in a week. I’m one of those people who thrive under intense pressure. It’s stressful as f*ck, and while I’m in the thick of it, I swear that I will never do it again, but I get it done. And then I do it again anyway.

Unfortunately, I can’t do that this time. I have a hectic month ahead of me because of The Romantic Agenda’s impending release and all the associated promotion. SO. I’m going to do the unthinkable and force myself to use a writing schedule. A minimum of two hours, distraction-free, a day no matter what until I’m done. I plan to track my progress and share it once I’ve reached the other side.

My draft is due May 1st. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers lol

Until next time,

Claire ❤

*The first two Writing Update installments can be found on my Instagram. I decided these needed to be long form–2200 characters just wasn’t enough.

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