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Boxing the Octopus: all content copyright 2008 Colleen Thompson and Joni Rodgers all rights reserved.
Late this past August, as I was excitedly working on a much-loved "secret" project, I received a call from my agent and a very welcome offer on a pair of books for my current publisher. The catch? I needed to write them very quickly to make the publication slots that were being held for me. So for the past six or seven months, I've been pedal-to-the-metal writing these two books, the not-so-secret project relegated to the back of the already-quite-crowded closet. (I call it my "future file," and it's jam-packed with half-baked ideas, half-complete proposals, and rejected projects I hope to attack from another angle and give a second chance.)
But I can tell you, the secret project did not go quietly. For months, it's been struggling to flap its way free, as the strongest of ideas often will. Casting itself in my mind as a glittering, gold-feathered (with diamonds for eyes!) bird in the bush, it fluttered at the edges of my consciousness, distracting me from the everyday drudgery (and I'm talking seven days a week here) that tight deadlines can become with its hopeful song, tantalizing me with its possibilities.
Yesterday, I turned in my second manuscript, and after two seasons of hard work, I'd convinced myself that it was time for a few days off to consider which possibility I really wanted to drag out of the closet, but the secret project had no intention of waiting its turn. And with that realization--and the knowledge that I am at last truly free to pursue it--I feel the warmth of the March sunshine, the breath of scented air, the sense of delicious anticipation that only true spring can bring with it.
Still, I remind myself, though there is nothing so exciting as raw potential, hard work must always follow. The trick is, keeping that initial thrill alive throughout the seasons, long enough to set it down in writing and shape it with sound feedback and careful editing. Only then can it bear fruit in the mind of every reader.
So as spring begins, what new projects are on your horizon? And how do you keep that initial thrill alive?