I love Melanie Crowder’s post about the Colorado fires, comparing them to her own desire to get a draft done in the summer when she is free from school obligations and the forthcoming pressures of having a book on the verge of release. Oh, the stress we place on ourselves! I gather than most, if not all, of us Emu’s are feeling the strain of wanting to get another book done (and preferably sold) before our first one comes out.
Why is this? Are we afraid of being a One Hit Wonder? Or could it be that the insecure guy on our shoulder is hissing into our ear that our first book might fail miserably, and if we don’t get something lined up quickly, we might not ever get another chance to sell again? OK, so maybe these are my fears. I don’t really believe them, but that insecure guy has a mind of his own and he doesn’t really listen to rational explanations.
Like Melanie, I am in a race to finish a book before my first one releases this fall. But despite my hopes, summer has been a frustrating time to write. The kids are home, with different schedules, making me the official Carpool Camel. Just when I settle into my first paragraphs, the youngest comes up and gives me a sad, “Why are you always on your computer?” look and asks, “Mommy, will you play just one game of Sorry with me?” Working from home is challenging for a lot of reasons, but when the kids are around, too, the laptop becomes a source of jealousy for them. Hence, not as much writing is getting done as I’d like. At one point, I actually had to lay down some serious cash to check myself into a bed and breakfast for three days so I could write for more than an hour without interruption. I wrote more in those three days then I have all summer.
Melanie’s situation is more difficult than mine. She has the added pressure of having time off during the summer with which to work, while also having to balance Real Life. What little time we have seems devoted to preparing for our debut launch, rather than writing. This, combined with an urgency to get something else in the hopper before the debut book releases, makes for some craziness. I get the feeling that most of the pressure comes from a self-imposed state of anxiety.
But yes, the days of leisurely writing for a few hours a day over a period of years seems over. Now we must produce to keep our readers, agents, and publishers happy. Now we must produce to keep that insecure guy as far away from our shoulder as we can get him.