Apparently, I have a penchant for telling someone what their problem is. i.e.: "You're problem is..." Supposedly I've done this a lot with Prissy Bower. And while some point to this as a character flaw, I prefer to think it a gift. After all, if you had a problem, and I knew what it was, wouldn't you want me to share it with you?
Now, as it turns out, I have a problem. Lucky for me, I'm in my life to point it out to myself.
I've been driving myself nutso trying to put this series pitch together for next weekend's SCBWI conference. How the heck does one go about this? Am I supposed to present an overview of the characters and the world they live in? Am I supposed to outline each book in the series? I've tried both, none of which make me happy about the one page/5 minute timeframe with which to pitch this series.
But that's not my problem.
I spent a good chunk of yesterday questioning whether to bother with writing at all. I've got a good job, earning a pretty decent living with minimal exertion. Why can't I be happy with that? Because I've never been satisfied. I've spend most of my adult life in search of the next best thing. The chase, for me, is where the excitement lies. The idea of becoming an airline pilot was much more exhilarating than the reality of it. I hope that's not true for the dream of being a published author.
I'd like to think each new story brings a new challenge. They're all new worlds designed to prevent boredom. But here is where my problem lies.
I spent a number of years writing the first Schmitty the Pirate book. Certainly, boredom took hold a time or two. I'd put it away, come back to it, and so on. I never liked how it began. I must have written ten different opening chapters. When I finally found one I liked, it didn't fit the story I'd written. So I wrote a whole new story. And, with it, I found the passion again. By the time I was querying, I was ready to write the next one. But then, I got sidetracked with the idea for Sister Very Pretty. I love the characters in the Schmittyverse, but it was refreshing to step into a new world. I decided to focus on Sister Very Pretty.
And then, this stupid conference came up. And then, the opportunity to pitch a series came up. And I found myself back on the island of San Iguana, with Schmitty and all his friends and enemies. Suddenly, I had a dilemma.
My problem is, I'm supposed to be focused on one thing, but keep getting sucked back into the other. And now, I'm totally jazzed to dive into Schmitty book II and...
"Well, who says you have to stick to one thing?"
"Huh? I...well, I do."
"So who are you?"
"Well, I'm the writer."
"So you say. But what are you writing for?"
"I don't get it."
"Why are you writing this stuff? Are you on a deadline? Is someone paying you?"
"Um...no. Not yet?"
"Maybe not ever."
"So what are you so worked up about? Write what you want to write."
"Well, that's awfully simplistic."
"Why shouldn't it be? Look you said it yourself. You have a good job. Your not sleeping in your car. You don't have any of the sob stories so many famous authors tell about when they got their big break. Face it, that's never gonna be you. Quit pressuring yourself so much. Think of it this way: You've got nothing to gain, so why not have some fun?"
"That's a good way of looking at it."
"That's what I do."
"I'm always here."
Huh? Problem solved...I guess.