I updated my Works in Progress page. You may notice a new entry.
Because while I was knee deep in my big Middle Grade project (codename S2), one of my back-burner projects---and I mean waaaaaayyyy back---suddenly forced itself to the front. And I wasn't able to get any traction with my main project until this side project had a finished draft.
And the reason is simple.
It turns out that I had to write the second book in order to teach myself how to write the first. More specifically, as someone who has trended toward the YA and adult side of the spectrum for his entire writing life, I was not equipped to write a Middle Grade novel until I had first written a picture book.
Well, progress on project S2 is finally starting to move along like a steady river flow (instead of the sporadic eruptions I'd been struggling with before).
In the meantime, I now have a picture book manuscript in my portfolio. And though it needs a second draft, it's a work of genuine quality that merits publication. I am not prepared to let it sit in my computer's hard drive, forever undiscovered.
What to Expect when You're not Expecting
It's part of any creative endeavor: sometimes accidents happen.
And if you can't learn to profit off those accidents, then you won't make it far in the business. Because, as a writer, everything you produce has value, simply by the fact that no one else has, or could have, ever produced it.
Personally, I see it as my mission to leverage everything I create to the sustainment of my career. And I'm hardly the first writer to ever do so. So now I have project codename TF-TP under my belt. And, after an appropriate cooldown period, I am going to redraft it and then start sent it out on submission. This means that I could be querying two books every week instead of one, which will present its own challenges, but also increase my chances of hitting pay dirt.
With any luck, I won't end up querying three books at once, because my Middle Grade project could see completion in as little as a few months.
But on the whole, this is a good thing. It's always better to have more books to sell.
So remember to leave room for the unexpected in your work schedule. Those side projects and rainy-day reserves could turn out to be your most beloved work. In the words of another author:
Along the way accidents happen, detours get taken—the accidents turn out to be some of the best things.JOHN IRVING
Good luck with all your happy accidents.