Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

I've talked about her in the past, but I had to bring her up again. I love Dory from Finding Nemo. In literature, the character that is often represented as "the fool" is often the one with the most inspiring comments that we tend to miss. Her comment as she and Marlin are heading deep into the trench and the darkness of "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" has so much to it.

In the past, I have used it to keep going after events such as a rejection letter or bad review. Today, I want to take it for a slightly different twist. As an agent, we want to always have projects on the table for the editors to look at. No, this does not mean we send out every project of yours at a single time and then try to find a way to juggle things. What we mean is to always have projects heading out the door in case something ends up not working with editors.

Professional writers simply cannot write a single story, see how that does and then write a next one. We have to always have new projects lined up and ready to go. At some level, you need to have something in at different levels of the writing process;
  • A story outlined
  • A story in the initial draft phase
  • A story in the critique phase
  • A story in the submission phase
  • ...and hopefully a story in the marketing phase
This constant flow of writing gives the agents and editors a lot to work with. They see forward movement and they see a career author. Simply put, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Don't wait for someone to tell you what to do next.



  1. Stephenie HovlandJune 14, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    Great idea. I just took those categories, created a document, and will see where my manuscripts fall. I can check it once a month to make sure I'm keeping each category occupied and the manuscripts aren't sitting in the early stages too awfully long.

    I've heard some writers say that they have a number of manuscripts they like to always have out-the-door. One said twelve is her magic number. I don't think I could keep track of that many yet. So, I'm going to start with a few and try to maintain that number, then work my way up to more.

  2. That's a great list. I am bringing a bunch of projects to completion and was wondering how to organize my writing career into a business plan. Thanks for posting this list, it really is good.

  3. That's a great idea in theory, Scott - but I'd like to ask: what if you are unable to write more than one novel at a time? As a beginner in this craft, and as a student, I don't feel that I could write more than one story at any given time. I tried it before, but found that each project distracted me from the other.