First of all, thanks to Mason Canyon at the Thoughts in Progress blog for her review of my recent release, Hickory Smoked Homicide. I appreciate it, Mason!
But it wasn’t always that way. After I wrote my first book, I treated it like a child that needed its hand held. I walked it to kindergarten, I anxiously watched what people said about it. Was it being bullied? I worried over it. I was a helicopter parent for the book.
Then I noticed that I kept getting the same advice from the other writers that I knew. “You should write another book.” Some of the writers didn’t even realize they were giving advice. “When’s your next book coming out?” they’d ask. As if that was just the normal approach. It was, actually, an annoying refrain.
I didn’t want to think about the next book. I wanted to focus on the fact that I’d just written a book! It made my head hurt to think about moving on to another one. I wanted to just celebrate my accomplishment.
Since I continued to hear the same advice, though, I wrote another book. I started obsessing over it the same way. At that time, I was trying to move from a regional press to the big guys. I wrote queries and synopses and cover letters, and tracked them carefully. And I wasn’t writing.
I discovered that it was very discouraging to get rejections. That was probably because querying was my sole focus. The rejections really stung. I hated going to my mailbox.
And still I continued to hear the refrain. “So what’s your next book about? What are you writing now?”
Was there no resting on your laurels in this business? Even after a couple of books?
That’s when it all started clicking for me. Write, edit, submit, brainstorm, repeat. That’s the cycle. That’s how we get better, that’s how we start a writing career, that’s how we sustain a writing career--that’s it.
That’s how rejections and reviews won’t sting. We keep writing.
If we write a real stinker? We keep writing, keep improving. We’ll have a better or more successful book the next time. Or the next.
If all our writing dreams are hanging on one or two books, we’ll nurse the dickens out of them. It’s so much better, so much healthier, to keep being creative.
What’s your next book about?