Tuesday, May 14

Stay The Trail


I may have mentioned a time or two that my daughter and I love to trail ride . In a previous post, I said we like to wander in the mountains sometimes, and we do. But at times that isn't possible. The Forest Service will post these signs, and they mean what they say--Stay The Trail. You aren't allowed to wander. The Forest Service wants you to stay on the marked trail because they don't want you to trample delicate forage or scare wildlife that may be there.

Lately, I've had trouble with this concept.

Staying The Trail.

Sigh.

I started out the beginning of January with a pretty clear path in mind. I knew who I was submitting to, and when. But there have been a couple of obstacles in the way. One publishing house closed, another's changing editors.

I self published, which has really been a jump off the trail I'd set for myself. It is different and exciting and just like those times my daughter and I wander the mountains, I don't know what's around the bend.

The books I had in mind to write have also changed drastically. I prefer suspense. Always have. A year go I started a book with the characters named Austin and Jamie, loved it. Still do, but I can't seem to find time/will/motivation to finish it. Instead, again, I keep going off trail to different books. Instead of finishing Jamie and Austin, I've finished two shorter pieces--Promise Me Eden and Ride A Falling Star. Neither of those have contracted yet.

As I write this, I have to make a decision. I have two books and two series calling me. One is the clear path, the one I should write. The other is what I'm dying to write.

I need to decide--Stay The Trail, or no.







31 comments:

  1. I know what you mean. Almost half-way through my Marriage Game series, I vered off and wrote two books for the next series. I played with the idea of taking a break and resuming the Marriage Game later. Fortunately, my Beau Monde chapter has several long time, very sucessful authors, and I was strongly advised against it.

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  2. I've been in your shoes D'Ann. I always find if I go with what is truly in my heart I'm not only happier, but the work is that much better because that was what I wanted to do to begin with.

    Good luck...I know whatever you decide you'll write something amazing.

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  3. Not easy, is it? I have this trouble myself. Seems like there's a clear path in front of me, but it's the wild, woolly one that I want to take.

    I love Austin and Jamie, so I hope you find the trail that allows you to finish it, but you're so good, no matter what you write, so you should be proud that you're getting books written, even if they aren't part of the plan.

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  4. You're experiencing a problem many writers face. What you need is a career plan. I have some tools which might help you get a handle on where you want to go. Remember, you can't get there if you don't know where you're going. punkyc@pacbell.net

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  5. I've been there in mind, I keep wanting to write a story that keeps at the front of my mind continuously, but when you have 2 book deadlines, I have to stay on the trail - it's hard. Good luck.Judy

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  6. I'm a stay the trail type of person. I'm going through what you are, but I have to stay on the path I've started going down. It's just the way I work.

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  7. I'm the kind of writer who likes a trail. I can see how much I've accomplished and have a solid goal for my future. Not to say I don't get bored on the trail sometimes, though!

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  8. Great analogy, and something that's driving me a bit to the crazy side, too. I'm at an age where "follow your heart" is usually the best option. But is it?

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  9. Write what you're dying to write! (but I'm off the trail as much as on)

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  10. You sound just like me, D'Ann! Wish there was an easy answer, but I say go with your desire-your heart-and write the story you want to write! Our muse doesn't always stay on the trail :)

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  11. Maybe I'm like my little rat terrier. I go along and follow the trail until something catches my eye. Then BAM - I'm off trail. I just say the word "squirrel" and the little dog heads another direction. I feel for you. But you're not under any contract - so do whatever you want!!!

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  12. I admire that you are trying new things. I agree that the world of publishing is quite interesting with all the changes.

    All the best! I look forward to hearing what you decide!

    Melissa

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  13. LOL let me know what you decide, D'Ann. I have the 'zact same problem -- started a book I love to write but another story keeps knock knock knocking :) oh the fun of it all :)

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  14. While having a solid trail is nice, there are times in life where you just need to veer off and start a new venture. Come out of your safe zone. is it scary? Yes. But sometimes, your heart wants what it wants.

    I've experienced that twice this last year. I started working on a book after I published The Secret Santa Wishing Well, thinking that book was going to he the first in the Love and Music in Texas series. Almost 20k in, I realized I was starting off wrong, and jumped into Baby stetson. That worked out for me, because I think Baby Stetson is the perfect start to my series. Then after publishing that, I thought about getting back to a paranormal suspense story I'd started a year ago. No dice. Love and Music in Texas Book 2 started calling to me. I was torn. But I gave in to what my heart wanted, and now I'm about 20k from finishing that book. I think as long as you're writing and it's working for you, it's okay to veer off that track a little bit. Not everything has to be perfectly planned.

    That's just my own $.02 worth :) Good luck whatever you do. I'm sure your story will be wonderful, whichever way you go about it.

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  15. I've struggled with this same thing--a few times. For me, I have to feel passionate about what I'm writing or I go of trail. Hopefully, I can get back on and write the end. Good luck with you doing the same.

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  16. great post! I'm of the opinion that if you're passionate about a project, that passion will shine through. So, I say go with your gut. Go after that story that has you by the hand and follow that trail! But, whatever you decide, good luck!

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  17. I'm the worst one to comment. BUT I LOVE going off trail! Go with your heart and your gut and quiet down the mind. That's my mantra!

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  18. I have a similar opinion. Never write for a market. Write the book you want and need to write. Markets change. But if you write from the heart, at least you'll enjoy the work. It will be creative fun, not drudgery.

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  19. Write what passion dictates. You can always go back and finish the others!
    More passion to write something = quality writing!

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  20. The whole "strike while the iron's hot" concept is key for me in my writing. If a story calls to me when I'm working on another (and I mean REALLY calls), then I listen, because I usually produce better work with it than if I force myself to stay the trail with the one I'm not ready to work on. Trust your gut and go off trail!

    Sophia Ryan
    --She Likes It Irish
    --In The Bad Boy's Bed

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  21. I think we should all veer off the trail once in awhile. It is good for the soul:) And if there is something burning in your heart maybe you should stop and write it down. As long as you aren't under a deadline the other stories will still be there waiting for you. Your passion will show up in your writing and will show if there is none.

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  22. As a hiker Jess and I go off trail more than we stay on it. And I usually spend a great deal of time clearing/cutting a path through barberries and wild roses and lugging downed trees as path markers. It turns out I don't hate trails, I just want to make my own trails instead of walking other people's. And I honestly believe when I'm done, they are the best trails in the woods, and given how worn they'll get in short time, I think others agree. Why go off trail? Because the standard trail has degraded into a creek, is miserable to hike and not in the least bit fun to do. If the normal trail is nice, I'll use it. I'm for whatever works best for me. If the trail you intended to take has problems, cut a new one, but if you are just wandering off because you're curious what's over in another direction, then keep in mind, if you walk away from a trail too long, it grows over and sometimes you can't find it again. So if you go on a walk about, don't stay away too long.

    That's my advice on maintaining trails. It's much simpler than life.

    Liza

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  23. My two cents is to follow your heart, D'Ann. Veering off the path may turn up something new and exciting around the bend that may be what you didn't know you were looking for.

    I finished Sunny Days Ahead and really enjoyed it. And might I add you come up with the greatest titles.

    Maryanne

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  24. Follow your heart, the book that is calling to you saying "Write me, write me."

    My .02 cents,

    Cheryl G

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  25. I just had a similar post on Inkslingers' blog. Two ways to go--what to do? If you have a passion burning to write one of the books, I'd say take that trail. It may not be the main trail, but it may be the best trail for you right now.

    I've had trouble staying on the trail from day one. In fact, I have trouble staying on the horse! Good luck. I'm sure whatever you choose, the book will be wonderful. :)

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  26. Write what you're dying to write! You'll be happier doing the story of your heart.

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  27. Thanks for all the great advice, everyone!

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  28. Oh, D'Ann, I understand PERFECTLY! I'm having the same issues. I really need to finish book 3 of my Colton Gamblers series. Or write book 3 of my paranormal series, but instead I've started two other books and am rewriting a novella with the intent to self publish it this summer.

    I say write what you want to write, but keep in mind of what your goals are.

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  29. D--I'm all for following your muse even if she guides you down an unknown and untested trail. Whatever you choose, it'll be great. And loved this post.

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  30. At least you're taking some sort of trail. My horse has just stopped and won't move at all. LOL. Good luck, D'Ann!

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  31. Oh, such a tough call! I vote for both if you can pull it off. Write a book from one series then bounce over and write a book from the other. Going back and forth will help you not to get bored with one world or style. It's what I'm doing right now, and it's working for me.

    The only drawback, is a year or more seems to go by between releases of books in a series. It's a long time, but once each series has several books out, I'm hoping there will be enough good stuff for readers to dig into while they wait for the next in a given series.

    Good luck with your decision!

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