Monday, September 20, 2010

What I'm up to

I wish I knew. I still have a bit of nonpoetry writing to do in order to finish up the Shakespeare Poems, and no, I can't really share anything more about that just now, but I am on to the next thing.

And the next thing scares me, because it is not something I have managed before. And I am therefore filled with anxiety that it is simply not something I am capable of pulling off (to whit, a YA novel). Sure, I've written a research-heavy biography of Jane Austen in period verse for that crowd. And a collection of Shakespeare poems. And I've written chapter books and picture books and individual poems, but this? This is completely new territory for me. Unless you count the three failed starts I've made on other YA projects, only to completely abandon them. And if I count those, I am building on a record of failure, so I'm inclined not to do so.

I have decided to forge ahead, however, if only to keep the promise I made to M to write a YA novel so I can try to sell it before she's out of high school. She has just started sophomore year. It's theoretically possible, therefore, that I can pull this off, and so I shall try. If you hear a loud banging sound coming from my corner of the interweb, it's my head meeting my desk.

I've read lots of awesome posts on this sort of thing from friends over the years, and they are all an inspiration. But over the weekend, I felt as if Paul Acampora had written this post just for me. Because I happen to know Paul personally (a little bit - not nearly enough!) and I know his writing, and he is brilliant. His post was about finding the time to write, but that is not the part that spoke to me. What was there that is just for me (and maybe for you, too) is this:

I’m working on a first draft right now. Quality has very little to do with it. In fact my goal at the moment is to simply write a very bad novel. It’s a good goal because when it comes to first drafts, it’s the only kind of novel I can write. If I finish at all, that will be a huge success.
If Paul can have the goal of writing a very bad novel, then so can I. And hey, I read Paul's blog post not long after reading this on Maureen Johnson's Twitter in answer to a reader's question: "Never second guess how good it is. Write anyway."

It's kinda nice of the Universe to send me encouragement via the internets, isn't it?

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