Writing Crossroads


I’m standing at a writing crossroads and having a very hard time deciding which path to take. I don’t want to get stuck in one project, but I also don’t want to start more than I can feasibly finish:

Option 1: Put everything Expecting Happiness related on hold for the month of November, (unless of course some very enthusiastic agent wants to snatch me up…), and have fun letting the words flow for NaNoWriMo. This was my original plan. I figured I’d come back to Expecting Happiness either because of outside interest or after I played around with something new, learned some more tricks in the process, and was ready to revisit.

Option 2: Here is what I was not expecting. Reading up on the writing craft this month has left me more aware of the places I could strengthen Expecting Happiness. Likewise, I have received input/interest from two of the people I reached out to in my querying process and see that with a little guidance I might be on an even better track toward getting this thing traditionally published. So, my other thought is that I get this book truly done for good before allowing myself to explore something new.

I feel very torn between both options. I am so excited to be back in that first writing stage again where everything is fresh and you’re living inside the story. However, I also feel like I’m beginning to make some breakthroughs in how I understand my own writing, some breakthroughs that might make the difference…

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18 thoughts on “Writing Crossroads

  1. kingmidget says:

    You put out your queries … here’s a beautiful opportunity to do something else while you wait. Give it a few months and see what happens and while you’re waiting, start the next chapter in your writing life.
    To me, it’s a no-brainer. I get the idea that you see things you could have done different or better in that first novel, but you don’t know if it’ll click until you hear back from your queries. So, wait, and move on to the next big thing while you’re waiting.
    Just re-read your post … if those two people are agents who have said “do this and we’re inerested” … well, do that instead of follow my advice.
    But, it depends on who those people are and what they said.
    At the end of the day … let you queries do their thing and while you’re waiting, use NaNoWriMo to begin something new.
    I’m rambling … 😉

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Thanks for the advice. It helps. I should probably do what I told you– pick whichever one is the most fun. Life is short, nothing is certain, might as well enjoy a new story. That’s the direction I’m leaning.

      The two people are agents but it’s complicated and there is a little waiting on my part, too, so I guess it doesn’t hurt waiting a bit to let all of that flesh out before taking whatever wisdom is sent my way.

      Choice, choices. 😉

  2. If you have an opportunity to get your work traditionally published is it going to disappear if you work on something else during November?

  3. jeffo says:

    This is a tough one. I think I’d be inclined to leave Expecting Happiness on the back burner, but it also depends on how much feedback came in, from whom, and how many other queries you have out there still unanswered. I’d hesitate to make changes to that manuscript based on 2 things unless they were both saying more or less the same thing, AND you strongly agree with what they say. Still a tough call, but feedback is good!

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Yes, I’m leaning toward letting all of that run its course before making changes that may or may not actually help me accomplish anything. Thanks for the input, it helps me think. 🙂

  4. Tanya says:

    Hmmm that’s tricky! But I vote take a break. Time can give you a fresh perspective on their suggestions and you’re writing. It’ll also keep you from feeling burnt out. Set a date to come back to it :).

  5. bwtaylor75 says:

    If you’re anything like me, you don’t like leaving something half finished, or not your best work. I have been where you are. I’ve had an agent reluctantly pass, so I tried to understand why. I’ve grown so much as a result. If I would have moved on, I would be making the same mistakes in a new manuscript. The things you learn with Happiness can be applied to all future manuscripts. A better writer will tell a better story. If editing will make you a stronger writer, edit. A chance to land an agent, if that’s your goal, should not be taken lightly. What are your writing goals? How can you achieve them? Will starting a new manuscript benefit you as a writer? Ask yourself some of these questions and be honest in your answers. Whatever you decide, do what feels right. It seems like I’m in the minority, but I would go with the edits. Don’t settle for someting other than your absolute best. Challenge yourself to be great. If you do that there will never be any doubts. What does your husband think? He may have a nugget of wisdom too. At any rate, good luck!

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Yes, I know exactly what you’re saying. I want it to be my best. However, I’m also realizing that I may be even to make it that much better by leaving it alone for a whole month. I really haven’t let it sit for more than a week or so since last November! That’s a pretty crazy realization right there. I think distance might help. Unless, of course, any of the query input I’m receiving becomes pressing, but at the moment it’s me waiting on others, even with some encouraging/helpful interaction, so no reason not to let it be. I think the compromise I’ve reached is that I’m going to set a date to come back to it unless something becomes time sensitive. Thanks for taking the time to respond, really helps me think through it! (And, I’m completely with you on using feedback to become better, otherwise, what’s the point in continuing to make the same mistakes!)

    • oliviaobryon says:

      PS. The what does my husband think question was a good one. I think the trouble is that he just wants to be supportive of me in whatever I choose, so he understands the allure of both options. 🙂 Mostly he has helped by listening to me (over)talk it out.

  6. Kozo Hattori says:

    I vote for NaNoWriMo for two reasons.
    1) I believe that cross training is one of the most powerful and efficient means to improve your skills.Writing a completely different book in a completely different manner–one month rather than 1 year–would be great cross-training.
    2) I’m signed up for NaNoWriMo, so we could push each other along.

    Also, your query letters are not your only option. You obviously have the ability to self-publish.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      I like you’re thinking… Never thought of it before as cross-training 😉 Thanks for the vote of confidence. Let’s push each other in November! If you link me to your NaNoWriMo profile, I’ll “add” you as a friend!

      • Kozo says:

        Thanks for following. My namowrimo profile name is Kozo. I’m not sure how to link you to the profile. I went to writing buddies, but I’m not sure how to invite, find, or send a buddy. This is my first namowrimo.

  7. Covetotop says:

    Option 1 … Option 1 … Option 1 … Option 1 … Option 1 … 😉

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