Book 2 Is Coming Soon, Eventually, Someday…

16707_10101473860094457_3715585485478337330_nI love that we titled this week’s topic “Progress” on our new works. I have to chuckle/whimper when I see that. It’s about the same noise I make when people ask me how my next book is going, even though I’m still doing events, promotion, and all-around worrying/looking after Chasing the Sun.

The truth is, I’m not sure how it’s going. My agent’s reading the first few chapters because I decided I’d appreciate the early feedback. Aside from those pages, though, I haven’t had time to write much else. I’ve been plotting and outlining, which I suppose should make me feel better. (It really doesn’t.)

Instead, I’ve been trying to bury this perpetual sense of guilt that I’ve had for the past six months or so. That voice that says you should be writing. Some days it’s louder than others, but it’s constant, even as I’ve taken time to launch and celebrate and soak in the fact that my first novel is out after seven years of trying and failing and trying again.

That little voice that says don’t stop, always be writing—I’ve had to tell it to STFU.

I’ve had to ignore the one piece of advice I heard over and over again: write the second book before the first one comes out.

I could say I simply haven’t had time. Most days, it really feels that way. But I know what’s really happened is I’ve chosen to spend it in other ways. Writing is a huge part of my life, but it is not all of my life. It goes in phases and on days when that guilt-trippy voice is really, really quiet, I can take in all the pieces of my life and know that Book 2’s time may not be right now, but it is coming…soon.

 

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Natalia Sylvester

Natalia Sylvester is the author of the novel CHASING THE SUN (Lake Union/New Harvest, June 2014), about a frail marriage tested to the extreme by the wife's kidnapping in Lima, Peru. A former magazine editor, she now works as a freelance writer in Texas. Visit her online at nataliasylvester.com

This article has 7 Comments

  1. I think the “write every day” advice is very good, for newbies.

    Writers starting out should write and write and write — that’s how you get better (in fact, that’s the only way you get better). I knew a photographer once who took a course in college and they each had to shoot some insane amount of rolls of film every single day (six rolls? ten? who remembers?).

    It’s the same when you’re learning to play an instrument — you don’t get to be a better saxophone player by just thinking about it, or by reading articles about it.

    But that’s a prescription for a specific condition, not a universal rule for everybody all the time and forever.

    1. This is so spot-on, Anthony. AND as someone who also took photography in school, I remember shooting those crazy amount of rolls and learning so much from it, so I can very much relate.

      I also think there are many ways to continue practicing writing that don’t entail working on the WIP. I often journal, in between drafts, for instance. And I can’t ever stop reading.

  2. I tend to cheat this by at least poking it here and there on days where writing feels impossible.

    Any time I get a big flourish, I find myself drained, and have to take a moment to live and recharge. Still, I try to be a bit creative every day, if only to continue to nurture it, (I also feel like this is good because creativity is a bit of a trained skill) but it’s obvious on the days it’s just not there, and forcing it will just make you hate your work, which likely will come through in the quality.

    1. I love how you phrase it as being creative every day. That’s exactly it.

      There have been times also, when I’m deep into a draft, that I make sure to write every day, even if it’s just five words. I know I’ll get to that stage again soon, even if it’s not where I am now.

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