Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Inbetween Land

All writers inhabit the Inbetween Land at some point. Wedged between first drafts and last drafts, finished manuscripts and fresh plots, beta readers and editors. It's a truly bewildering place.

It kind of feels like this...
Alice in Wonderland, 2010
And take it from me, it takes careful maneuvering to escape it.

Develop a Game Plan:
Writers have to learn how to use their time wisely. As a part-time writer, I split my time and energy between teaching and writing. The challenge is creating a schedule that works. 

This fall that means getting the school year underway and setting a date to publish Book Two. Then, between now and then, I need to set up a Blog Tour, put the finishing touches on the cover, and plan how and when to format the manuscript. You know, after I finish editing everything up. 

I've had several conversations like this lately:

He's so fluffy, I could die!
Alice in Wonderland, 2010
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Learn Who To Trust:
Experts materialize when anyone lays claim to the title of Writer. Marketers, editors, proofreaders, social media specialists, etc. are dying to give you their pitch and take your money. That's why it's crucial that writers learn to trust their own voice. We're responsible for researching things properly and cleaning up timelines, grammar, and character quirkiness. 

People in positions of power may be professionals,
but they may also be professionally bonkers.
Alice in Wonderland, 2010
Our expertise will be called into question. When that happens, we must carefully consider the counsel given as well as the source, especially if it comes from someone who is strong in areas where we are weak. We aren't infallible, but neither are our editors and readers. We must trust our hearts and swallow our egos. We must keep our minds open but pay attention to our own intuition. 

Get to Work:
Unlike the noble turtle who leaves her eggs in the sand and trots back to her day job, we can't abandon our manuscripts to nature and expect them to thrive. And unless you're rolling in money, the lion's share of the work will fall to you. Just like I have, you're bound to make mistakes, but you're bound to have fun as well. As frustrating as it may be, being a published author is awesome.

So pitch in! Do all you're able to do and then call in as many favors as you can. Among all those experts who emerge from the depths when they smell fresh writer blood are those who care more about helping other writers than they do about draining your bank account. They don't mind giving free advice, sending you in the right direction, or swapping favors.

That one time I dressed up as Alice...
Halloween 2015
So my dears, now that I've got my game plan, know who I can lean on, and know what's ahead, I'd better stop playing dress up and get working! Wish me luck!

And please, share your tips and horror stories about the dreaded Inbetween Land in the comments!


  1. This time of year is hard for teachers, the end of first quarter and the wild weather changes make for wild students...and of course you are also trying to edit your book on top of all this. I'm sending you thoughts of strength and have no doubt that you can handle all this and more. Go get 'em girl!