I don’t know if it’s like this for any of you, but when I’m working on a new manuscript, I can’t write anything else. Not a short story, not a blog post, hardly even an email. My mind is so full of new book stuff that there’s just no room to add more. That’s why I’ve been a little quiet on the blog these last many months. My new story has made sure of that!
You’d think I’d be used to it by now. I’ve been writing middle grade books for more than ten years. Wait. Is that really right? Yup. I just counted on my fingers to be sure. Don’t judge me…I wasn’t a math major! It’s actually been 13. In those thirteen years, I’ve written five manuscripts. Some of you may think that’s a lot. Some of you may think that’s not a lot. I think it’s the exact number of books I needed to write in that amount of time to get me to this point today. I needed to write two manuscripts that never made it before I’d write the book that ultimately became my first published one. It was time well spent, time I needed to take to learn how to write a novel.
I never found my writing style or voice until I began writing Spin the Golden Light Bulb. I had been writing for five years at that point. That’s a long time to devote to writing craft and finding my own unique way to tell a story. Even after those five years, though, I took my time with Spin the Golden Light Bulb because not only was I finding my own voice, I was still trying to put all the writing a novel pieces together. That took four more years.
In comparison, Flip the Silver Switch and Pop the Bronze Balloon came together much faster. Maybe that was because I had already done the basic worldbuilding and character creation. Maybe it’s because I found a method that worked for me. But still, while writing those books, I kept learning. I tried new things. I found what worked and what didn’t. I stuck with what did and scrapped what didn’t. I know now the types of stories that I like to write. I’ve found my voice, a method that works for me, and a style that is uniquely mine.
I guess that’s why I thought writing my next book would be easy and happen at a faster pace. Each of my three published books came together more quickly than the one before. I thought I would breeze through this one—pound it out in the blink of an eye like magic.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. Over the years, I may have learned to write faster. I may have learned how to write a better first draft so that revising doesn’t take so long. But just because I’ve learned to do those things, that doesn’t mean I do. This time around, I’ve been writing slower than ever.
I brainstormed slower. I outlined slower. I drafted slower. I revised slower. Why? Because I could. No one has been waiting for this book. No one has been expecting it. And that fact alone has made this book better.
I’ve taken my time—about two years to be exact, because I’ve wanted to take every single thing I’ve learned about writing middle grade fiction and about my own writing stye, and wrap them into the best thing I’ve ever created. And now that this book is done, I’m so happy with it. I love this story so much, I seriously can’t wait to share it. It’s not a sequel to Pop the Bronze Balloon. It has nothing to do with the Crimson Five books at all. It’s still middle grade, but it’s something completely new. It’s light science fiction (very light!) and in staying true to my brand, it’s full of color and whimsy, imagination and heart, and characters that I love so much! I can’t wait to share more when I can.
Even though the world building, plot, and characters—everything about this story took its own sweet time coming to life, I know I needed that time to make this the best it could be. So if you’re frustrated with how long your project is taking, just remember, nothing amazing happens fast. Take your time and make it a project you’re proud of. That’s what I’m doing.
Thank you so much for reading! I appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog more than you know. And now that this novel is finally written, hopefully I’ll have more brain space to post here consistently like I used to!