Since I decided to follow my passion for writing a little over 10 years ago, I focused the majority of time on my first book. For about 5 years I wrote and revised it. (Maybe it was more than 5 years. After I had a child and turned 30, time took on a whole new level of mental relativity that Einstein probably couldn’t even grasp.)
After I finished the draft, I kept the book hidden away in a metaphorical drawer for a long time. I’m weird about my work. Although it’s easier for me now, I still don’t like to show my drafts to anyone until I feel it’s ready. To this day, if I’m working on a writing project and my husband comes over and tries to peek at my laptop I scream at him, “Stop it!” Then I throw my hands up in front of the screen like I’m covering up something shameful.
I don’t know why I do this. But my stomach balls up with anxiety at the idea of someone reading what I’ve written too soon. (Not normal or rational, I’m well aware.)
While writing what was to be my first completed, full-length novel, I tackled a few other writing projects. I didn’t often complete them or, once I did, I realized they were awful. Still, I enjoyed the process of writing.
Finally, I decided it was time to try to get my book published. After countless devastating rejections and few times making it past the query round, only to get rejected upon sending a full manuscript (double devastating), a lovely small publisher accepted my book. Soon after, The Travelers made it out into the world. Great. My debut novel had been published.
It was all new to me, being a published author. I dove into social media and book promotions, researching, learning, talking to people. And I kept writing too. Soon after publication of The Travelers, I began writing the sequel (with the exceptionally clever working title of The Travelers II).
Forgetting the well-known principle of quality over quantity, I also thought it would be a fantastic idea to write a blog every, single day. (Side note: I had never blogged before and did not often read blogs, although I read a ton now. In addition, just to be clear, I also have a day job. Writing middle grade or YA novels and blogging are extracurriculars.)
I kept up my daily blogging for nearly a year until finally reducing my posts to two to three times a week. Still, I don’t regret my trip into daily blogging insanity. It made me a better writer and I think helped me get over my crippling fear of people reading what I write, at least a little bit!
During periods where I sent The Travelers II off to alpha and beta reviewers, I started and finished new projects. One of my newer projects, a middle grade novel, is currently with a publisher for considerations. Another YA science fiction novel draft is undergoing an alpha read with my husband.
(Side note: I have no idea if alpha read is a term. But you can’t just jump straight to a beta read. Something has to come before it. Therefore, correct or not, I call the first few people to read draft 1 of my alpha readers. I think this also makes them feel special. Alpha reader sounds like some pumped-up super reader, right?)
In addition to this, in the next few days, I will likely finish the final revisions for The Travelers II and send that off to the publisher to see if they’ll pick up the sequel.
After taking this inventory of my projects, I realize, they’re all out in the world… It’s the first time since I decided I wanted to publish my work that I don’t have a project brewing in my cue.
I have tons of ideas, evidenced by my inbox, which is stuffed full of emails with the subject line: Book Idea!
Now I’m at a crossroads. (So dramatic, I know.) Should I start writing a new book, knowing it will get interrupted when one of my other projects is sent back in need of revisions?
Do I focus on smaller projects, like blogging and a column I write for Bella magazine, perhaps shoring up some pieces for when I am ultra busy in the future?
Should I try something new? Work on some short stories? Try poetry? Take a break from writing? (OK, big laughs for that last one. I don’t think I could do that.)
I know you must feel much pity for me. This is just a terrible dilemma to have in life. How can I possibly cope? (In case it’s not obvious, that’s sarcasm.)
It is a nice dilemma to have and I’m not complaining. Really, I’m just looking for advice. Writers, authors, or people who like to give advice in general, what would you do in this situation? Have you ever been in it before? I’d love to hear from you!