Monday, June 2, 2008

Veering off course

If Mother Nature dropped two baby raccoons in your back yard, what would you do? That's a no-brainer for me. I have a good friend that raises raccoons. I'd scoop them up and take them to her house.

Other choices in life aren't so easy. Here's one example from this spring. I faced the dilemma of attending the memorial service of my step-father or attending a once-a-year event at my old RWA chapter. My immediate knee-jerk reaction was to hang onto the conference, but I went to the memorial service.

Tough choices abound in writing careers. How much daily writing is enough? How much promo is enough? Am I taking advantage of the best marketing opportunities? How many social networks does one need? Am I being selfish by using all my free time on writing? Am I compounding the problem by trying to jumpstart two writing careers?

For the most part, the world seems wide-open, but the truth is that once you say yes to one thing you've said no to something else. In 2007 I took advantage of every marketing opp that came along. In 2008, I'm selectively exploring marketing opps. With another year under my belt, I have a sense of my finite limits. Going around like a bat out of hell is all well and good for the short-term, but it isn't a good long term strategy.

Looking at past goals, I see that I've veered off course from my initial goal of writing two category romances a year. As my writing skills improved, my scope broadened to include romance and mystery. My publishing contracts reflect this scattered approach. Is it a mistake? Is it a good choice to do more than one thing?

The only choice I can reliably make is to write the best book I possibly can, whether it's a mystery or a romance. There's no problem with changing course. That old course was made under a different set of circumstances. I'm not the same person I was 5 years ago and the publishing world is certainly different.

Course adjustments should be a continual fact of life.

Keep on writing!

Maggie Toussaint

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