In the awesome I Am A Writer Facebook group, Sarah Werner of the Write Now podcast asked, “Do any of you choose a ‘One Word’ of the year?” She chose the word focus, and I am unabashedly stealing it for my word of the year, too.
The Thieves of Traska has been a work in progress for a few years now. Following last year’s beta readers, I started on the (hopefully) final big overhaul of revisions. When I got stuck in a tangle of scenes cut and pasted in a better order, I should have taken a step back from the narrative and put my focus on researching agents and querying. Instead, I banged my head against the problem in Thieves and scrapped my progress on the sequel to start over. Repeatedly.
From my conversation with Sarah Domet last year, you’d think I would have done more to actually get published than purchase the 2017 Writers Market. I read blog posts, interviews with agents, did some research. While interviewing the head of a local art association for an article, I received the name of an agent he knew that I could reach out to.
Of course, I haven’t done that. Thieves is still only 50% through this overhaul. And besides, before I actually get serious about looking at agents and what they’re looking for, shouldn’t I maybe save up to hire an independent editor? You know, to make sure that it’s actually in a good place to start pitching? But what if the editor thinks another overhaul is in order?
I spent a lot of time ignoring those questions and poking at the next project. Only in the final days of 2017 did I admit where my focus should be: on getting Thieves published. The articles and interviews I read about getting an agent were helpful sources of background information, but I need more. Naturally, this meant a trip to the bookstore was in order.
Between visiting family and bingeing Frontier on Netflix (which you totally need to watch right now), I started my new focus. I updated my site’s look. I’m diving into my research into how to get an agent. I’m getting feedback on Thieves from my 11 year-old reader.
So hello, 2018. I will focus this year on what needs doing. I will straighten out Thieves. I will send queries. I will pick a beginning for the sequel and stick with it. I will watch the next season of Frontier as soon as it’s released. Focus, damnit.