Like J. wrote in Owning It, I, too, have been obsessing about the next book. But for different reasons. I never know if I love a work-in-progress because I revise everything to death and lose all sense of perspective, anyway. I wish I could just Be-in-the-Moment and adore my own book to death. But alas, it seems difficult. The closest I get are the chills on my arm that happen sometimes when I’m writing, or when I read back a scene I wrote the day before and feel the words rush up from my heart: “Ooh, you’re good!” Hmm, come to think of it, maybe this is a form of love after all. How lucky are we writers that we even get these moments where we have a physical reaction to our own creativity? But still, it doesn’t happen often enough–given that writing is a solitary pursuit and so we don’t get the benefit of daily positive feedback from colleagues or good annual reviews to let us know we’re doing well–which is why I’m following the recommendation of another writer friend and buying myself an Applause Box. If I can’t do it for myself, might as well buy one that’s battery-operated. (OMG, did I just say that?)
For me, my second-book-fears originate from something I heard from an agent at the SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A. She says it’s not easy getting a second book published if the first book doesn’t have stellar sales records. So this leaves me thinking that it’s best to get the second book out there before the first one is released. It’s not that I’m worried about not making back my advance, it’s just that I don’t really have a clue how it will do, and if it’s true that publishers will one day decide the fate of my future books based on some mysterious, 32-page sales report, well, then, that’s a pretty freaky thought.
Basically, this puts a lot of internal pressure on me to get this book done. The past three years have been about revising my existing stuff, then revising some more. Not about creating new works. So here I am, working hard to finish something new before LEAGUE OF STRAYS comes out next fall. My goal is to have Book Number Two completed by the holidays (which holiday, though, I’ll never tell!) Also, I miss being out on submission. Right now, Agent Joan isn’t selling anything of mine, and I am desperate to give her something shiny and sparkly to work on. A writer is supposed to write, not just revise and write blogs, right?
I also know that once my book is out there, I’m going to be spending more time on getting the word out, and hopefully doing fun things like teaching or speaking at book fairs. This means that my window for creation is now. What I really need to do is take a chapter out of the Buddhist manual and Be-in-the-Moment-and-Write. Remember, it took me a decade to get this one written, revised a gazillion times, and sold. I feel like I don’t have the luxury of endless time anymore.
So therefore, I am signing off to work on my next book. I hope to love it one day, but just to get something done would be nice, too.