So, I've finished the novel I've been working on for the past 9 or so months. My agent is shopping one of my other novels with the big guys in NYC and we're in the 'hurry up and wait' routine.
I have some other projects that can use a full contact edit and some ideas for future stories, but nothing that grabs me by the throat and says 'you must write this.'
Th ultimate in unstructured time and anyone who knows me, also knows the less I have to do, the less productive I actually become. (Now, it's not like I have *nothing* to do, it's just the things on my to do list aren't the things I want to be doing.)
I'm in a strange place. For so many years, my focus has been on learning enough of the craft of writing novels that I would be able to snatch the brass ring--obtain an agent. While much of the agent search process is luck and timing, still, it was a process I was in control of. I chose what to write, which project to query, and which agents to research and pitch to. I had goals and timelines. (Always have 10 queries outstanding; after 6 months, consider lack of response a 'no' and move on; after a year of unsuccessful querying, move to query a different project, etc)
Now that I've captured the brass ring, I truly understand that it is only the token to get on a different carousel (to push a metaphor) and that there are new brass rings tantalizing me.
The submission/shopping process is one I have no control over, so I vacillate between a sense of zen-like acceptance and nearly-tearing-my-hair-out anxiety. The best way I know to deal with my anxiety is to keep moving forward. Only one problem: I'm not sure what that looks like right now.
There is a sequel brewing for "The Between." In odd moments (and trust me, in my life, many of them are odd. . .) I catch a glimpse of a plot thread or a character and think 'wow--that will be fun to write.' But, I don't want to put a year into writing something that won't be remotely marketable if "The Between" doesn't sell. "The Between" is still a first draft sitting on my hard drive and will remain so until my agent is ready to see another project. And right now, her job is to sell "The House of Many Doors."
I have been kicking around another idea, this one for YA sci fi with series potential. This would also be a lot of fun to write and I have to admit, the challenge of writing a series is something I'd like to tackle.
In some ways, this is an embarrassment of riches problem and one a scant 6 months ago, I didn't dream I'd have. So while I'd much rather be writing, I guess I can actually push away from the computer and get a few loads of laundry done this morning. "Chop wood and carry water" and all that.