The Coffee Shop I Used to Know

I’m in the middle of drafting my second book. I’ve been working on it since June, when I finished the edits on my first book and started sending it to agents in the hopes that one of them would love it as much as I do and want to help me sell it for big money to a major publisher. (For the record, medium money at a good publisher is also great.)

In the before times, I’d be spending a couple mornings a week in my favorite coffee shop just on the edge of my neighborhood focusing on hammering out dialogue and scenes, making the prose funny and sing out in a way that will capture my readers imaginations and tickle their funny bones.

Now, I’m plopped in my favorite leather reading chair, my feet curled up underneath me, my laptop balanced on my knees, trying to shut out the thousand different sounds my husband and children make through the course of an average day so that I can hear the muse whisper to me.

It’s not their fault this draft is going slow. I got an R&R – a rewrite and resubmit – from two agents back in September. R&Rs are a really big deal. They include critiques and editing suggestions the agent hopes you’ll take and incorporate into another draft (or as many drafts as it takes). This is a step (an uncommon step) along the path to representation. An agent that requests and R&R is interested enough in your book to take the time to analyze it, write out the critiques, and then read it again once you are done. That is a huge commitment of time and mental resources.

So, the last four months have been consumed with combing through my first book again to make it as perfect as possible for these agents. I’ve even sent it to a third agent who requested my book, but was content to wait until I had this rewrite finished. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read the polished, polished version of a book other agents are also interested it.

As a result of the R&R, plus the realities of being unable to escape to quieter, distraction-free zones, Book 2 is languishing. But I’m done with the R&R! I sent it out Monday, so here’s hoping that the New Year brings me some great career news.

This means I have three weeks in 2020 to finish my rough draft of Book 2. Let me be clear, I’m doing this to myself. No outside force is saying I have to finish, but I’d LOVE to be able to say I finished my draft of this book in a year that was fraught with so many challenges. So I’m going to do it. I have 50,000 words on the page so far and only 25,000 more to write.

I miss my coffee shop, though. If it were open there’d be no question about finishing this draft in the next 11 days. As it is, I’ll buy croissants from my local bakery, wear earplugs, and sip my coffee from my dining room table, while finishing 2020 with a bang.

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