I came to a decision yesterday. Recently I've been thinking about the books I've written and the lessons I've learned since I first finished Spectacle. I've also been looking at what I'm currently writing. Over the past few days... weeks... months, I've been considering whether anything is going to sell and how I'm going to get from unpublished and hopeful to published and successful.
The great Hubby and I have talked about it from the standpoint of what do we expect to happen in our careers in the next seven years. If all we can expect is more of the same, should we continue to do what we're doing? Seven years from now, will we both look back with regret that we've wasted all that time, or will we look back and be satisfied with our progress? Since neither of us can see the future, the only thing we both know for certain is that the best way to change the future is to change our actions in the present.
Or in Hubby's words (quoted from somebody somewhere): If we always do what we've always done, we'll always get what we've always gotten.
So... When I think about change in my own career, I have a limited number of options. I can 1) quit writing and get a job with a paycheck, 2) write something more in line with what's 'popular', 3) change the way I approach the task of writing and getting sold.
Of course, number ONE is out of the question. Aside from the fact that I won't quit writing, getting a job outside the house would a) be difficult in this economy (and Hubby is against me taking a job that doesn't utilize my skills - like at the grocery store or the hardware store), and b) totally screw up the whole homeschooling thing when we have two years left to go.
Which brings me around to number TWO. In a way, I already did that when I wrote Dying Embers (aka Manhunter). Beyond that I suppose I could write a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy or something else that's hot. Problem is... Even though I like to read those kinds or books, I'm really not jazzed about writing them. I like writing speculative fiction and suspense. I like taking a 'what if' and following it to its logical conclusion. I could probably write one hell of a paranormal something if I set my mind to it, but the urge just isn't there. I could force it, but then it would suck because it would feel forced. I can only write what I write.
So, that leaves me with THREE - Change the way I'm doing what I'm already doing. Basically the way I see that option is: Take the lessons I've learned and work harder to apply them to what I'm writing. Additionally, use those lessons to make the novels I've already finished worthy of publication.
Work harder AND smarter.
In keeping with the best option, I've decided to lay off writing new words temporarily while I work on re-polishing what I've already got. I still believe in Spectacle and Caldera and all the rest, so I can't fathom why I wouldn't work to get them published. I put a lot of effort into those suckers. So what if I need to put out some more effort?
This means I'll be editing and reworking the stories. It also means I need to rework and edit all the submission materials that go with each of those novels. I know it'll take a lot of work, and I know that afterwards they all could still be sitting on my harddrive gathering virtual dust. But I have to try.
Now I just need to choose which one gets attention first.
Of course, this is only one step in the process. I have a few other things I need to work on, too, but I'll share those in another post. This one's already too long. ;o)
Anyway, wish me luck. I'll probably need it.