It's not done, of course. In five, ten years, the arc that maps out my writing journey will look completely different. It should, anyway. Nobody strives to be a writer who quits growing.
Right now, though, the main difference in me as a writer is not the writing itself but the way I approach it.
When I first started writing full-time, it took some time to find my groove. And then...
it was all about pushing myself to complete more. A bigger word count. A higher number of pages edited. Constantly--more, more, more. When drafting, I was unhappy if I didn't hit 5K words a day. When editing, I'd feel like I wasted a day if I didn't comb through at least 100 pages.
I don't know if it's age, or a result of the pandemic, but all that just drives me nuts now. And to a great extent, it seems like pushing yourself to the brink of collapse all for a bunch of inferior work. I mean, is every single one of those 5K words going to be in the final draft? If you're reading through a manuscript that quickly, are you sure you really edited, or did you just skim? Are you going to have to read the whole thing over again?
If so, how fast are you really moving?
There is something to be said for taking a deep breath, giving yourself room to think.
There is also something to be said for enjoying yourself. Working in the garden. Spending time with the dog. Sitting on the back porch with a book and a beer.
I don't want to wake up every single day and feel like I'm racing a nearly-impossible deadline.
If you're wondering how this has impacted my output, so far this year, I have published one full-length romance novel. I republished an MG novel after the rights reverted and published a corresponding activity book for the MG (which meant I was forcing myself to learn to become a decent line artist using Clip Studio Paint). I published a humor novella. And I am currently line editing a Christmas novella and drafting a full-length mystery.
Not bad for a year that's really just a little more than half over.
And not bad for a year that's been spent taking deep breaths...
Holly Schindler is a critically acclaimed and award-winning author of books for readers of all ages. She is currently working on a re-release of her first YA, A Blue So Dark.