Thursday, December 8, 2011

Each Book is a Different Experience

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Craig A DYEING SHAME copyI was running errands recently and ran into a mom I haven’t seen for a while.

“Have you had any books come out lately?” she asked.

I’ve had four this year.  Two were traditionally published, two I released myself through e-publishing. My friend asked if the writing just got easier and easier.

In some ways, that’s true.  The mechanical stuff, the organizing of a book, just knowing you can do it—that gets easier.

But each of those books had a story of its own behind it—completely separate from the story I was telling.  It wasn’t always smooth going, either.

Finger Lickin’ Dead was a breeze to write.  I laughed all the way through it and wrote it in no time flat.  Easy.

Hickory Smoked Homicide was a book that I nearly deleted off my computer 1/3 of the way through because I lost direction.  I was so frustrated and panicked when I knew my deadline was looming.  I talked to a friend who happened to be an expert in the area I was struggling in,  found my direction again, and the rest went smoothly.

Progressive Dinner Deadly was a book that I wrote in 2009.  It was easily tidied up and released.  Took me about two weeks to edit. I e-published it, myself.

A Dyeing Shame  was a backlist book that I wrote circa 2002.   It took me longer to clean up that book than it took me to write Finger Lickin’ Dead.  I finally got it to the point where I was pleased with it….and it’s a completely different book. Only the killer is the same.  I even changed some of the character names.  I finally released it last week.

The point of these reflections is to remind me not to get discouraged while writing.  It all works out in the end. And not to experience hubris when writing goes really well (e.g. Finger Lickin’ Dead.) 

I learn something from every book I write.  I think I learn more when I struggle through it than when it comes really easily to me.

Have you found that every book has its own personality?  How do you stay encouraged through the process?