Guest Blogger: Amy Atwell
Take it away, Amy....
Thank you so much, Carol, for inviting me to the Tiki Hut! I’ve really needed a getaway. I’ve been pretty busy lately.
The Creative Process
As a writer, I’m still working through my creative process. It took me ten years to write half of my first manuscript and then, once I made the firm commitment to finishing the draft, it only took six months to write the other half.
My most recent completed book was an idea I started and wrote about 30 pages on. Those pages sat for probably two years. And then, suddenly, I wrote the rest of the book in about five months.
For me, once the book takes shape, it takes on a life of its own. I can’t hold it back. I finish off that book and prepare myself to start the next.
But last year, while I was between books, an idea crossed my path that caught my attention and wouldn’t let go.
I had this vision of an online resource website for authors, and it would be all about the business of getting published, being published, managing your career. I had sold my first book, LYING EYES to Carina Press and gone through the debut book launch process, and I wished more than anything that there could have been a single resource I could have gone to that would have at least pointed me to the answers.
This idea was my new bright, shiny. Have you experienced one of those? You’re working diligently away on a story, and this other idea dashes across your consciousness and totally steals your focus. Suddenly, the current story is a waste. What you really want is to chase the new bright, shiny.
But is that a good idea? I always wrestle with that. Am I possibly sabotaging myself by abandoning the current project to chase this new one? Not to be cliché, but the bird in the hand IS worth two in the….
Being a gambler, I pushed the current story project aside. Bring on the bright, shiny!
My first hurdle was trying to describe what I wanted to accomplish. Thank heavens for Kelsey Browning! She’s a writer who shares my business perspective, and she immediately understood my “pitch” and helped shape the vision of what is now Author E.M.S. (Entrepreneur.Management.Solutions.)
For nearly a year, I’ve been writing content and building this website. It sounds simple, but it has kicked my butt as much as any story has. It’s not plot, but there is a structure to the website and the content needs a certain flow. And, oh, the research! I made great progress for the first two months, and then I started to drag. The bright, shiny started to lose its luster. There were a couple times last fall when I wished that another idea would cross my path. But I’d made the commitment, and I wanted to see this idea “in print.”
By the holidays, I was in the homestretch. Oh, not that the site is finished—there’s still plenty of building to be done! But I could see the structure holding its shape, no longer sagging in the middle. I could see the “plot” points—in this case, a searchable database of online reviewers and library-like sections on Self-Publishing, Promotion, Websites & Blogs and more.
I suffered a mini-meltdown around Christmas. My husband’s computer lost its hard-drive. Our backup device wasn’t working properly. Our site softwares all needed upgrades, so I upgraded (and, er, crashed…) the site. Thankfully, I’ve got wonderful tech support people who rescued me. But this process was similar to submitting—you’re ready to be published, but you have to send your work out there and wait! <G>
By February, I had a thumbs up, and I could see my dream about to become a reality. Except…there were still a few minor things that needed to be tweaked, edited, revised. I remember being so sick of this website a few weeks ago, I was convinced it was stupid, no one would like it, and I had wasted all my time.
Sabotaging thoughts. Ones I’ve learned to move past. Author E.M.S., my dream site, is up and running. Instead of a book to entertain readers, I hope I’ve started to build something lasting that will help authors.
Are you susceptible to the bright, shiny? Do you have a solid process that works for every story?
AMBERSLEY hit the Top 100 on both Kindle and Nook and has sold over 30,000 copies. When not writing, Amy runs the WritingGIAM online community for goal-oriented writers and has recently launched Author E.M.S., the online business resource library for authors. An Ohio native, Amy now resides on a barrier island in Florida with her husband, two Russian Blues and a demon kitten. Visit her online at her website, Magical Musings, Facebook, Twitter and/or GoodReads.