On Friday, which I declared “Do What You Like Day,” I fished an old nonfiction manuscript from the files for one more look. When I wrote it by request from Dutton several year ago, it topped 10,000 words. I signed the contract and banked the advance. Then a new publisher came in and cancelled nearly all of the nonfiction projects in the works, including mine.
I showed the manuscript around. A different editor liked it but asked me to shorten it rather dramatically. I did. He left his position with the manuscript hanging. Someone else, unfamiliar with the history, turned it down.
An editor at a different house asked me to shave the manuscript down to a few hundred words. I did. She didn’t take it but suggested how I might revise it. I did. She didn’t take it. I didn’t blame her. I was tired of the subject and it showed.
When I dug the manuscript out of the files on Friday and read it again after six months, I was impressed by how unimaginative my writing was. My prose had turned to wood. It wasn’t good enough for a middle school newsletter. I was that jaded.
I wandered around the house trying to get up the gumption to discard the project. For a “Do What You Like Day,” this was not making me warm and fuzzy. I might as well have stuck with the marketing plan that I didn’t want to do.
And then, out of the blue, I suddenly knew exactly what to do. Just like that my muse dropped the solution in my lap. I immediately proclaimed the rest of Friday to be “I Love My Muse Day.”
I am now busily and happily at work on what will amount to a brand new manuscript. Will it sell this time? Of course it will! I’m pumped. Bring me an editor!