After reading One Beautiful Dream by Fulwiler, I’ve been contemplating what my beautiful dream truly is. To have a big family, homeschool and stay at home with my kids, and teach college courses online–this is all my dream, praise God for it! But what are my writing goals, exactly? Last week I thought it was to publish my third manuscript, Church Ladies. Why? Because its 62 pages, and good, and done. I’ve got a 4th manuscript I’d like to start working toward, and so I’m a little bored with my old project.
Reading that book though made me reconsider if it is really the best time to publish a book. I would love to see Church Ladies in print because it closes the project, puts a big fat DONE on that file, allows me to move on from it. But what if its just “good” and not great? What if I need to slow down and work a little harder to get the publisher that is absolutely perfect for this odd little niche poetry book?
I turned down a chapbook publisher a few months ago because they required their authors to do a lot of publicizing and with us moving and a new baby on the way, I didn’t have time for that.
The hard truth is that even if a book deal landed in my lap today, I don’t have time to publicize a book properly–no time for readings, travels, conferences. No time for social media really. My family life is demanding right now, at a fever pitch of demanding, and even though I think continuing to work on my writing is Vitally important, publishing a manuscript needs to wait.
I’ve decided to wait until our last baby is 1 year old before I send out any manuscripts again.
Typing that sentence goes against every bone in my firstborndaughterambitious body but at the same time I know it is what I need to do, it is right for my work, right for me, and right for my family.
We are on baby #5, so the end of baby years is in the not too distant horizon, but I suspect this means I’ve got probably 2 – 4 years before I’ll be able to send out my manuscripts, depending on if we decide to stop at 5 babies or go for one more (or just one more). We are really, really Presbyterian.
As hard as it is to think about shelving my book(s) for that long, I know it will be so much better for them in the long run. I’ll have a longer time to sit with the poems, work on them, really make the manuscript shine. I’ll have time to write more poems to add to it. Time to send those poems out to magazines.
This won’t be time where I’m not writing at all–I plan to write more than ever--and that I won’t publish at all–literary magazines, I’m coming for you–but it will be time where I step back from putting any big projects out into the world.
I’ve got 4 (soon to be 5) pretty big projects at home that need more attention right now and will outlast anything I put in a poetry book.