Status: Nearly done!
I'm astounded at my productivity as of late. I've been up at all hours of the day and night. I sneak a few minutes in at my computer whenever I can. Blogs are going unread, facebook is neglected, email is unchecked for hours at a time. The house is a wreck, and the toddler has discovered some unusual methods for keeping herself occupied (hide and seek for one, anyone?). The spouse is neglected but pacified nicely with Unreal Tournament. And me? I'm fulfilled in that rich, magical creative sense of the word.
However, it's not my new YA WIP that has me burning the candles. It's the fact that in a few short days, I will have my first hardcover release. Admittedly this will be a limited print run (if by limited you mean a single copy), and the potential audience is small (if by small you mean a certain toddler and possibly her adoring grandparents), but I will be PUBLISHED.
I have made no great secret of my dislike for self-publishing and those companies that prey on the insatiable desire to see your name in print with the promise of riches. However, a year ago I was at a playdate when I spied a gorgeous hardback book on the coffee table. I noticed that the girls on the cover had a striking resemblance to the girls stacking blocks. Intrigued, I opened it up to discover a lovely tribute to the girls' first three years.
The mother revealed that she had discovered software that easily let her convert her blog into a keepsake book. I loved this idea, especially since I have never had the patience for traditional scrapbooking. But, at the time, I was overwhelmed and underfunded. In the last year, however, the price of the books has dropped substantially. Also, the Blurb software now works easily with Flickr. I still wasn't ready for a project the size of converting my blog into a book, but I hit upon the idea of doing a little book for Tavy's birthday.
I've tried to analyze why I'm enjoying this project so much and if I can learn anything from this to apply to my longer projects. I think these are the key:
- I have a limited focus: Rather than chronicle Tavy's life, I've focused in on the differences between her as a baby, her at one, and her at two.
- I outlined and pre-planned: I drafted an outline and assembled all of the Flickr photos I wanted to use into a single folder before starting.
- The project is limited in length: The finished book will be around 50 pages.
- I see tangible progress: Each time I finish a layout, I know that I am much closer to the end.
- I have a deadline: Tavy will only turn two once.
- I have a guaranteed audience: Tavy loves looking at pictures of herself. Her grandmas will undoubtedly want a copy as well.
- I'm working with a topic and materials I love.
- Publication is a certainty: I will finish the project, hit submit, pay, and someone else will handle everything else.
- I will be able to hold my work in my hands and show it off.
Right now, I'm finishing up Tavy's book, but I'm also living with my WIP's characters chattering away in my head and moving forward with the design for my new professional website. Ever since I said goodbye to the deadweight of the previous MS, I have a reached a new place of serenity about my writing. This little project has further bolstered my faith and belief in what I can accomplish.
Your turn! Have you ever done a project "just for fun?" Did it rejuvenate you? What did it show you about yourself? Does learning new skills/software related to writing excite you or frustrate you?