Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Privilege of the Unpublished Novelist

For the past five months, I’ve been trying to work on a new project. I’ve brainstormed, plotted, sketched out characters, written chapters—and rewritten them. And every step of the way I’ve felt like my feet slogged through molasses. Like the stuff found in a pantry shelf during a Minnesota January.

So even as I’ve worked, I’ve asked a lot of questions. Why do I write? What stories are closest to my heart and why? Who are my target market?

While I don’t have all the answers yet, a few have bubbled to the top—answers that have made it clear that my current project isn’t really what I want to write. Nor does it fit the readers I find myself yearning to connect with.

What to do now? I hate the thought of completely ditching my current project, and yet isn’t this one of the privileges of an unpublished author without a contract in sight? After all, I have no one pushing me to produce a manuscript now, nor do I have any pressing deadlines.

Now is my time to play, to experiment.

And who knows? That “ditched” manuscript may find new life yet. Anything is possible, especially with God leading the way.