Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blooming where you're planted

This month, I committed to writing 50,000 words. Kind of my own personal NaNo, since NaNo takes place in November and that so doesn't work for me.

I decided to work on the manuscript my agent was currently pitching, called Something Borrowed.

Between October 1st and the 14th, I wrote about 15,000 words. I had the document open and was typing my little heart out when my agent called.

"I've been on the phone with your editor for the last hour," she said.

Pardon the cliché, but my heart started to race. "Bad or good?"

"Excellent, actually. Except she's lukewarm on Something Borrowed. She has something else in mind. You have a few minutes?"

I looked at my open word document, sighed within, and closed it. "Okay. What's the new project?"

This is life as an author. Sometimes you have the privilege of picking your projects. Of presenting an idea of your own and it being embraced and bought.

Other times, you're selected for an idea, and it's your job to make it work. To make it yours.

I heard bestselling author Kristin Billerbeck use the phrase, "bloom where you're planted" in regards to situations like this. I love that. It's as important in writing as it is life.

You might have dreams of writing literary fiction or poetry or a memoir or something else that simply isn't selling well. Sometimes lightning will strike, and your risky story will somehow make it through the pub-committee. But for most, you gotta pay your dues. I'm not talking about lowering your standards, but about taking a different path in getting there. I'm talking about seizing writing opportunities that come your way and finding a way to bloom.

My editor's idea totally threw me at first. I called my writing friend, Roseanna, completely panicked. "How are we going to make this work?"

Within a couple hours, we'd come up with something I'm excited about, something I think is fabulous. And my editor's idea ended up fitting into a manuscript of mine like a missing piece.

Hopefully when she sees it, she'll feel the same way.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


  1. How could she not? I'm telling you, Gabby is IT. =) And the new idea really does complete her. This is going to be a winner!! I can't wait to read the new version.

  2. Fingers crossed...

    I finished reading through it yesterday and saw all kinds of opportunities for the new material. Yay!

  3. I think that'd be fun in some ways actually, to not want to write something. But somewhat tell yourself to write this, it'd be interesting to see how it turns out in the end!
    How many books have you actually gotten to finish/publish that were your ideas Stephanie? Just wondering. =)


  4. Great question, Jazmine. All three of my released books were my idea.

    And you're right - it definitely works those creative muscles to try and write on demand!

  5. Woohoo! That's fabulous news!

    I've felt that panic before, when the editor asks for something specific. I was paralyzed for about half an hour, then all of a sudden POW! The idea began to grow and I paired it with something I'd already been noodling, and zoom! It took off!

    So excited for you, and can't wait to hear about the new project!