I’ve been kind of busy lately…okay, I’ll admit that life has been completely chaotic. And one of the things I’ve realised recently is that it has taken it has toll on the quality of my writing.

Letters to Leonardo came out last year and had lots of positive reviews in national print and online media. It’s still being reviewed on blogs and just last week I had some great feedback from readers with comments like ‘amazing, fantastic, and it’s brilliant’.

Of course there’s nothing more rewarding for a writer than getting that sort of response to your work, but when readers ask you when your next book’s coming out, you really like to be able to tell them.

So I have been frantically rewriting and tweaking my two follow up YA manuscripts all year in the hope of getting a publication date for at least one of them. Publishers schedule so far ahead and time seems to be slipping by so fast and I have been worried that people will forget who I am, and that they liked my book.

But you know what I’ve realised? None of that matters. I can build another profile, I can reconnect with my readers. I hope that Letters to Leonardo fans will find my next book when it comes out, but apart from promoting it as much as I can through online, media and personal appearances, the rest is really out of my hands.

In reflecting on the whole publishing process I’ve  rediscovered that what’s really important is the writing. That’s why I’m a writer. I LOVE writing. Of course I want people to read what I write, but when it all boils down to it, the writing is the most important thing. And when you are busy worrying about when your next book is coming out, your writing suffers.

This is what I mean. While I have been flitting from manuscript to manuscript in the hope of getting one of them across the line, my characters have faded. In the chaos of ideas and people inside my head, individual characters have fought to be heard. I have struggled to identify who they really are – to find their original voice.

So now I’m bringing it all back into focus. From today, I’m going back to doing things the way I used to – before I worried about getting my next YA novel published. I’m going back to working on a single manuscript.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to win the Published Author section at the CYA conference for my YA manuscript, Cutting The Ice and from now on that’s the one I’m going to focus on.

I really like this manuscript and I’m going to take the time to immerse myself in it again – to get to know my characters – to carry them around in my head until I know them so well that they tell me where the story should go.

I still believe you have to have ‘something’ out there with publishers because no news can be good news, but from now on I’m not going to spread myself so thin.

As writers, it’s so hard to juggle writing with submitting and I guess for me this recent journey has been all about finding the balance.

I’d love to hear how you balance your writing with the ‘business/submission side’ of publishing. So feel free to leave your comments at the end of this post.

Happy writing.