This little sketch of the Earth with tiny satellites orbiting it is a model of my life as a writer. Well, it’s the model my husband suggested to me. We were at breakfast and I was telling him about the projects I had sent to my agent, the one I was working on now, and the ones I had lined up to work on when this currently project was done.
“These are all things you’ve been working on for awhile,” he said. “You work on them, leave them for a bit, then come back to them.”
“That’s true,” I said.
“This is how I think of your work. It’s like you’re a little writer in a spaceship, orbiting the earth. You come to an asteroid, that’s your project and work on it. Sometimes you get a call from mission control. You have to move on to the next one. But that other one is still out there, waiting for you to return. And you always do. You keep going around and around.”
“But I finish things,” I remind him.
“Yep, you do, and then new projects get launched into orbit.”
I laughed, because I loved this analogy. I don’t know if I’d ever be brave enough to go into space for real, but it takes a certain amount of bravery to be a writer, because you do have to trust yourself, launch yourself into space, handle the inevitable beeps and whistles and warning sirens, fix problems, and then send your projects off and hope they land.
It’s OK if you have to set aside a project for awhile. It will be there, waiting for you, when you swing back around the world.