Where To Go Next?

My great-grandfather George Ramsay Shaw - another great family story to tell.
My great-grandfather George Ramsay Shaw – another great family story to tell.

So many stories. So little time. Writing friends, you know that feeling. If you’re like me, you’ve got a handful of in-progress manuscripts calling for your attention, and more story ideas and projects in waiting. So where to go next?

There are the follow-ups to consider. People who are smarter than me (and more prolific, too) speak of the value a follow-up or even better, a series, can have to moving your titles. Big Buts of the Bible: A Revealing Look at Jesus Christ was always planned to be the first of many. No shortage of big buts, you see. Next in that series, Big Buts of the Bible: Insights from Hindsight is progressing. Still, it would benefit much from my undivided attention. And unfortunately it’s not getting it at the moment.

While I hadn’t planned on a follow-up to Chronicles of War, there are other related story lines in my family history files. And while the historical fiction genre requires a lot of research time, I do tremendously enjoy that segment of history. So you can imagine where my mind (and a fair amount of time) have been wandering.

Then there are those manuscripts deep in the drawer. I mentioned the drawer practice a week or so ago. Wouldn’t you know, I dug a few old projects out and … ‘Hey this is pretty good!’ There I go again.

Of course there is my epic novel. Every writer has one, right? That one book that will be my most profound contribution to the literary world. This is the writing project that almost rises to a holy experience–take of your shoes, because the place you’re standing is hallowed ground. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever finish it. Perhaps this is the one that will reveal my true literary genius only after I’m gone. And it will bring in millions–and my grandkids will never want for blue sweet-tarts because they’ll be living in a world constructed with them. (I’ll be calling the lawyer later today to have that written into the will.)

Then there are those nagging story ideas that chase me through my day. I see a cigarette-stained old man, a bitter pinched-faced woman, a kid on a bike with a big snake wrapped around his torso (really), an ice-cream truck–and my mind is screaming for me to create something to contextualize them. Stop the voices! I’ll give those scenes just a little time. Just a little.

Oh but wait–then there’s the writing that actually pays the bills. The freelance life. Deadlines. Damn. Better get back to work.

How do you balance your writing endeavors? How do you build writing time into your life and routine?



One thought on “Where To Go Next?

  1. I was just talking about how little I want to edit my book right now because I’m pulled to write something new. I have no answers because I never feel like I’m getting all my writing down, but wanted to commiserate.

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