Last week, I made the important first submission of my manuscript. I sent it, with prayers and hopes, on its way and now I wait for the response.
The day after my submission I found myself sitting at my laptop saying, “Now what?”
Truth be told, I had no idea.
I have writery things I could be doing. Things like making a list of agents to submit to, polishing my query letter, proofing my manuscript for typos and mistakes for the umpteenth time. But I couldn’t find motivation to do any of those things.
Now I’ve read that sometimes the best thing a writer can do is to take a break. Walk away for a few days or weeks even, refresh, cultivate ideas, be inspired by little things.
Yeah, I figured out that I’m not so good at that kind of thing.
What did I do instead? I wrote the first 500 words of the next manuscript. Then I wrote the next 500 words. And then I wrote more. Now it’s three whole chapters.
I feel refreshed, inspired, and ready to continue. I can’t wait to see what happens next in this story.
You say, “But Michelle, you’re the writer, you decide what happens next!”
Yes, I’m the writer, but to me, the best part of being the writer is letting the story tell itself. It’s the discovery of the characters in the midst of the words that is the reason I’m writing in the first place. It’s the magic that brings me to this slightly uncomfortable chair with strategically placed pillows, and sofa table that has become a writing desk.
I can’t wait for the rest of this story to pop out of my head. I didn’t intend to write a series when I began the last manuscript. I know my genre. There are a lot of trilogies (with novellas in between), but I know the odds of a debut author actually selling a series are slim. Yet somewhere in the middle of this process, I discovered there was a much bigger story to tell. It was just the beginning and I want to know what is going to happen next.
I hope that one day other people will want to know too.
(By the way, if you recognized the title of this blog as a quote from “The West Wing” then you win! It’s one of my favorite shows of all time. Writers, if you want a Master Class on writing voice, watch it. Aaron Sorkin is a wizard with words!)