Monday, July 2, 2012

Drowning in a Sea of WIPs? 5 Tips

Last week I celebrated the many accomplishments I have made over the last 10 months of pursuing a career as a Picture Book Author. 

Two of such accomplishments have been participation in Paula Yoo's NaPiBoWriWee which yielded 6 manuscripts for me, and Julie Hedlund's 12x12in'12 which just hit the halfway point and has yielded 6 more manuscripts.  But that's not all, I also have a few other manuscripts that I have been working on here and there through classes at Gotham Writer's Workshop and the like. 

What does this all add up to? 

My WIPs (Work in Progress) folders, both on my computer and in my filing cabinet, are overflowing!  Its enough to be overwhelming at times.

So what is a girl to do?

5 Tips to Stay Afloat in the Sea of WIPs

  1. Change Perspective.  First off, recognize that these manuscripts are in fact WIPs and therefore do not get overwhelmed.  As a writer, its scary to think of the well of creativity completely drying up, but the overflowing WIPs folder is a reminder that creativity is indeed flowing.  So celebrate the amount, don't dread it!
  2. Enjoy Variety.  Treat your WIPs like your closet.  Basically, with a great big selection of WIPs you can browse through the offering and decide what suits you today.  What character do you want to spend time with?  What world do you want to explore today?  Feel free to change manuscripts as often as you change your underwear!
  3. Allow for Rest.  There are some WIPs that need to sit for a bit.  They have been critiqued and revised quite a few times but are still "not right".  Therefore, the WIPs folder is a nice place to let them relax for a bit.  When its time, they will be read with fresh eyes. 
  4. Have Fun with Them.  Just because all of those WIPs are sitting there staring you in the face telling you they need to be completed and made "submission ready" asap does not mean you need to listen to them.  Instead, look at the WIPs folder as your playground.  Spend time practicing writing pitches for them.  See what would happen if the main character of one WIP decided to join another WIP.  Play around with POV or prose/rhyme.  This is your creativity garden...therefore, be creative! 
  5. Commiserate.  Ask any writer, published or pre-published, and they will tell you that they have mountains of ideas and WIPs.  We are writers.  That is what we do.  We write.  Its a badge of the profession.  Therefore, talk to your other writer friends about how many WIPs you have.  Compare numbers.  Pitch one of the plots.  Mention what issues you are having.  Its amazing how just talking about a manuscript can help unlock ideas.  Even a simple question posed by the person you are talking to can get you started in the "write" direction.

8 comments:

  1. Ha ha, love the title. Whipping WIPs. Mine are misbehaving! LOL

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    1. They can be unruly, that is for sure! :)

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  2. Good tips. Mine are corralled in a computer folder, not printed. Each day when I sit down to write I browse around and see who wants to come out and play for a while. I hate having so many unfinished, half-finished, semi-polished pieces, but I also love having that choice each day.

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    1. Yeah. As a perfectionist who loves to cross things off of a checklist, it does bother me to have so many WIPs, but it does allow us variety. I like your phrase, "who wants to come out to play." :)

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  3. Very helpful advice. I've got some WIPs to whip & I like your positive spin on this!

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  4. Funny! Feeling a lot of the same things these days, but also happy when I can still add more to the pile, or sea!

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    1. Stay positive, Julie! Its a GOOD thing!

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