Editors do not want same old, same old. Believe me; I've heard that message loudly and clearly at every conference and retreat. To catch an editor (or agent) eye, we must stretch into new territory which means trying different approaches, twists, mash-ups, and/or upends. It's the only way to produce work that has that "fresh" quality.
Look at your current WIP with only this thought in mind and create at least three new approaches for your ms. BTW, just changing POV doesn't count for this exercise!
Even if the approach doesn't sing, you'll never regret trying because you will learn something in the process. I pinky promise.
S T R E T C H!
Today, I'm offering you a time management tool that a cave dwelling, amygdala-focused person could have created. First, let me be clear, I have no judgement against dwelling in caves or being amygdala-focused. In fact, many days that sounds like the perfect way to live.
However, my world, like yours, is full of Must Do's, Should Do's, Want to Do's, and Should Have Done's. About a month ago, I had to get real with myself and realize my time management tool/s weren't working. Being a bit of a techjunkie, I've used multiple high functioning tools such as colored-coded Excel spreadsheets, I, J, and Kcalendars, and I even resorted to adrenaline-producing phone alarms.
Still, I puttered when I should have been plotting, I worked around projects when I needed to dive in and accomplish. And, finally, the Get Real Moment came when I crashed into a deadline full speed and narrowly met it. That's not me.
Remember that old adage that probably Oprah said, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten" or something like that? Well, I decided to shake things up and go old school. And it's working so well, I want to share. Ready to have your socks knocked?
Ta Da! Feel free to download and print out your very own Carrie's Work Grid. (That's my fancy name for it). Now here's the tricky part...be careful to follow directions here...write a header in each box. I know, right? Choose a bigger box for categories that require more to do's.
Mine are: NI (my freelance job), SCBWI, Books, YAC (a volunteer position I hold), Home, and Apt. (What's an apt, you ask? I own and manage a mixed use building so am busy getting an apartment or an "apt" rented right now.) Now, add bullet points for things that need doing. Add your own notes and hieroglyphics, and then Cross Items Off When Done! (ahhh, doesn't that feel good?!)
Low tech, high reward. You're welcome.
It is my observation that we get stuck in revision when we limit our thinking to good or bad. Those adjectives are judgmental, flat, and as oppositional as a tired two year old.
Why not try shades of BETTER?
Start where you are and strive to make the work BETTER using whatever criteria needs applying (e.g., better for my audience readability, better for the current market need, better for rhythm/cadence/lyricism, etc.). Of course, this means we must first identify the end goal, but that's very doable.
I challenge you to ditch the limitations of "good" or "bad" as they apply to your work.
Good? Bad? Blech. Better is...BETTER.
Carrie Pearson is a children's book author, writer-cheerleader, and mentorship matchmaker.